When you are thinking about your Custom Home Design, land is an important factor to consider. Finding the right piece of land in Vancouver to build a new home on, however, can be a complex process. There are a lot of aspects you need to look at. With this handy guide though, finding the right piece of land for your home can be smoother than ever!
What to consider about the house when buying a property for your Custom Home Design
You may be buying the land for your new home; but, if you purchase a property with a house on it, you have to think about it as well. The most important factor when it comes to the house is age. In Vancouver, if a house is pre-1940s, it needs to go through a Character Merit Assessment. Then, if it is found to have Character Merit, you may be penalized for demolishing it or given incentives to keep it.
In some areas, there were different size regulations on homes in previous years than there are now. This may mean that, if you demolish the current house, you may have to lose square footage in your Custom Home Design. With these cases, we suggest looking at a renovation instead of demolishing the old building and starting over.
Remember that most houses that were built before 1991 contain asbestos or other hazardous materials that will be costly to remove. Make sure you factor this into the budget for your Custom Home Design. You will also need to consider the Step Code requirements in place at the time of your build and their impact on your Custom Home Design.
What to consider about the land when buying a property for your Custom Home Design
Before buying a property for your Custom Home Design, make sure that it is Freehold Land. Why does this matter? All other types of land can carry long-term conditions. You also want to avoid Peat Bog as it increases construction costs and the Shaughnessy Area as it has significant restrictions on what you can demolish and build. If your heart is set on the Shaughnessy Area, opt for renovating the home already on the property.
Within Vancouver, you will likely want to avoid homes close to major roads. That is because there are all ready Community Plans to slowly rezone all properties within 300 feet of a major road. These areas will be turned into multi-family buildings. There is always the chance a Developer may be willing to offer you money for the land as this rezoning takes place, but that’s a pretty big gamble to make.
A corner lot can be great, but will generally require more detail on the side facing the street to have more corner appeal and avoid issues with the City.
Duplexes bring their own challenges when it comes to Custom Home Design. If you have an Interior Lot that has houses to either side, make sure it is at least 33 feet wide as you will lose 4 feet off the width for a walkway to the front door for the rear unit. If possible, choose a Northern orientation so your backyard can face South.
It is also important to know that, if you build a Duplex, then you are not eligible for a Laneway House. In Vancouver, there is a possible exception if you have a large enough RT-10 / RT-11 Lot as it is possible to build more Units on those lots. You can also merge RT-10 Lots together to get sufficient room to take advantage of this. In this case, you would not be building a Laneway House but an Infill House that could potentially be sold. We have even seen cases where 5 Units were built and sold by merging 2 lots together.