Feb 20

Lower Level Flats Don’t Have to Feel Like Basements

Here’s a lower level apartment added to an existing house in south end Ottawa by a coaching client of mine.

He added larger windows (including a second exit), a new bathroom, new $3,000 Ikea kitchen, two bedrooms, a laminate floating floor with anti-mold underlay, cupboards and storage area as well as laundry room (shared with the upper level, the only common area in the house).

It has its own entrance, which can be exclusive or shared with the upper level. The house now has a main floor 3-bedroom, 1-bath apartment for families or elders and a 2-bedroom, 1-bath lower level apartments for students. South Keys and the O-train is a 12 minute walk away–decent shopping and a 6 minute light rail ride to Carleton University.

The functional program of the house can altered–by opening a single door, it can be converted to a single family, 5-bedroom, 2-bath home.

The owners is planing to add a coach house in the backyard as well as 2 wood


asphalt shingled storage sheds (10′x10′) for which no building permit is required. The latter will be available to tenants or neighbors who need more storage space.

Note that these types of projects are using step-in shows with sliders as shown above, not quite as elder friendly as roll-in showers, but much better than bathtubs…

This project was completed at a cost of $65,000 and the owner received a grant from Ontario Renovates of $24,999 so his out-of-pocket cost was around $40k.

He’ll rent the apartment to two students for around $550 each or $1,100 per month plus they will contribute something for utilities and Internet. So his cap rate will be something like a ridiculously high 33% pa, one of the best I’ve seen yet. Most of these renos cost more (around $80k to $110k) and have lower grant totals (around $15k) so cap rates are more normally 13 to 15% pa.

@ profbruce

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.