November 5, 2020

Investing 101: Secondary Suites

By Cantiro Homes

When you build your home with Cantiro, you can also build your investment portfolio.

In a new series entitled Investing 101, we’ll explore the extensive investment opportunities available to you when you choose to build with Cantiro Homes. Today, we’ll explore legal basement or secondary suites.

What is a secondary suite?

A secondary suite (sometimes known as an in-law suite, garden suite or legal basement suite) is a separate dwelling located within a single-detached, semi-detached, or row house with its own living, cooking, and sleeping facilities.

A suite may be created through the development or conversion of a basement or other interior space within a house, accessed without passing through the principal (main) dwelling, such as through common interior space, or directly into the suite from outside.

The benefits of a secondary suite occur when it is rented out for additional income, helping to pay down the principle of the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments.


What are the benefits of a secondary suite?

  • Additional Rental Income—Secondary Suites can help you with your mortgage and financing. If the home you are looking to buy includes an income suite and you are able to arrange and provide a renter, lenders including the CMHC will actually include the future rent payments as income in calculating your debt servicing ratios. This makes qualifying for a mortgage easier and your home more affordable.
  • Build Equity Faster—When your home includes an income suite, you’re enjoying the benefit of a renter paying a portion of your mortgage. When the time comes to sell, you will have paid down more of your mortgage than you would have if you were living in the space alone.
  • Multi-Generational Living—Many families have parents and grandparents live with them. Secondary suites allow for multi-generational living space for extended family members while still having the option for privacy.
  • Sustainability—By using the space more efficiently, secondary suites allow more people to live on the same property—increasing population density and reducing urban sprawl.

City of Edmonton Building Requirements

When building a secondary suite in a brand new home or in an existing home, the City of Edmonton maintains a number of strict building requirements for income suites, but Cantiro Homes will work with you and guide you through the entire process:

  • Legal Building Permits—There are building and development applications and permit fees required for a legal secondary suite. Construction plans will also need to be approved before building and inspected after completion before a tenant is allowed to live in the space.
  • Separate Entrances—Secondary Suites must have a separate entrance from the main home.
  • Fire Safety—Home construction must use materials that will prevent the spread of smoke and fire. The home must have interconnected smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors that will sound regardless of the location of the fire.
  • Parking—A tenant needs to have non-street parking options. They do not necessarily need a spot in the garage, but some form of driveway/parking pad space is required.
  • Other Building and Development Requirements—These include 9′ basement foundational walls (for basement suites), additional furnace and hot water tank and an additional appliance package. Additional fire and sound protection are recommended.

You can learn more about the City of Edmonton’s Secondary Suites Requirements here.

Grant Opportunities

Secondary suites are eligible for City of Edmonton grants that funds up to $20,000. Some restrictions apply.

For more information, please visit the City of Edmonton’s Grant Funding for Secondary Suites.


Models with Secondary Suite Options

At Cantiro Homes, we have a wide variety of models to choose from that allow for legal secondary or basement suites with separate side entry options in virtually every community that we build in. These models include:

Cantiro Homes also offers a variety of different options to help you complete or prep for your secondary suite:

  • We can build the full income suite for you
  • We can do a rough-in with the furnace to get you ready to fully finish your secondary suite
  • We can do a rough-in without the furnace that you can then add later yourself
  • We can add the side entry for you to decide if you want to complete a secondary suite in the future

Interested in secondary suite options with your Cantiro Home?

You can learn more about other investment opportunities with Cantiro Homes on our Savvy Investors page here.

Contact us if you have questions or other ideas on the type of investment opportunity that could be right for you. We’re always happy to talk.

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