Tips on buying a home for tenants to live in

Whether you own a home or you’re in the market for one, there’s always lots to consider in the housing market. How many rooms do you need, how big of a kitchen is too big, how many cars do you want in the garage – the list of ‘what ifs’ continues to grow as you dream up your potential future life. Something that not many people consider is housing tenants one day. Many think that you either have to live in your home or rent it out, but it’s now growing popular to do both at the same time.


Building a rental suite on your property can help cover your rent while providing an excellent space for a student, single worker, young couple or anyone looking to live in the area without a huge financial burden. Whether you build on a new addition, a private entrance to the basement or finish the attic suite in your garage, adding a rental suite onto your property can give you more financial freedom, boosting your affordability and allowing you to do more of what you want to do.


Now before you get too excited thinking about ways to transform your property into a rental suite, there are a few things to consider. Some bylaws do not actually allow separate units to be located on the same lot as your home, so do your research before setting out on your creative venture. Also, don’t assume that the second unit is legal when looking at buying a house; there’s a very good chance that the person before you did not look up the bylaws and built the unit themselves. Work with a professional when buying a new home, so that they can ensure everything is up to code and inform you of any laws that pertain to your situation.


Once you’ve done your research and you know that a secondary suite is legally allowed on your property, now it’s time to put on your thinking cap: how do I make this rental look appealing to others? You need to think about what would make you want to live there and translate it into a new space. It’s important to remember the following tips when making these decisions:


  • Location: If you want your rental to be a hot spot for years to come, buy a house in a popular neighbourhood. Quick access to downtown, close to public transport, a safe neighbourhood, convenient amenities – these are all things that prospective renters will be thinking when viewing your place.
  • Features: On-site laundry is a big perk for many people, as laundromats don’t sound very enticing. Parking is another benefit that potential renters will look into, whether they have a car themselves or want to have guests over regularly.
  • Storage: Make sure there’s enough room for your tenant’s belongings. Whether there are big closets, extra room in the garage or a shed in the backyard, people will want to know if their stuff can be stored properly.


Having a secondary suite on your property may take time to set up, but it can definitely help with your monthly bills if done right.

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