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Old 10-20-2020, 11:38 AM   #1
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Thinking of building a Duplex- what should I know?

the parents and i are thinking of building a duplex but i have no idea where to start. read some threads here from past but i think i need even more basic info...


some questions i have:
1- how to determine a lot size?
2- is there a min lot size for duplex?

3- once i find a lot (assume there is a SFH), can i knock it down and build a duplex or does it need to go through a re-zone process?

4- in terms of cost what are some realistic prices for Oct 2020 days...
what we are looking for
2200sqft - 2500 on each side
4 bedrooms upstairs with 2/2.5 bath
1 bedroom suite or laneway (are suites / laneway allowed for duplex in cities where laneways are authorized)
Honda/Toyota type appliances - no need for Infinity or Ferrari.
2 car garage for each side

5- from Land is there a place to find plots of (i looked on realtor.ca) or is my only option to buy a tear down

6- anything else i need to know for basic info?
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:24 PM   #2
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You need a lot zoned for a duplex or one that can be rezoned. Each city has their own criteria. There are essentially no bare lot lands anywhere in the GVRD - you are buying a house and knocking it down - to save time, I'd just set the filter to Duplexes.

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Old 11-14-2020, 06:34 PM   #3
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I'm assuming you plan to build in Vancouver.

any lot in vancouver can become duplex. single family homes are not selling well so most builders are doing duplexes. you should take a walk through the main and fraser for the stunning normal size duplex projects (front/back). killarney has the wide lots so you see a lot of the normal looking duplex (side by side).

laneways are not allowed on duplex projects. you can have a garage but you give up the triplex (main, basement suite and laneway) projects to do the duplex.

standard 33x122 can do 1500sqft/unit
if you get a 50 lot, you can do 1900/2000sqft

you need to apply to the city to rezone (the architect will help) the current wait time is 12 months for the building permit. you can build a duplex on any lot but you need the city's approval even though they mass rezoned everything
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Old 11-14-2020, 09:16 PM   #4
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This one is building near me, surprised to see it on a standard lot.65 and 67 East 53rd Vancouver Duplex by Fairbrother Homes
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Old 11-15-2020, 06:27 PM   #5
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Not surprised but I find the standard lot duplexes are not big enough for a 4 person family.

is a vancouver special considered a 50 lot?
how to know lot size just by rough estimation?
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Old 11-15-2020, 06:40 PM   #6
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I cant imagine how terribly thin the party wall would be in a standard-lot duplex. These things are basically townhomes I guess.
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger_handheld View Post
Not surprised but I find the standard lot duplexes are not big enough for a 4 person family.

is a vancouver special considered a 50 lot?
how to know lot size just by rough estimation?
A standard "Vancouver Special" lot is a 33' wide lot. Generally those lots don't build side by side duplexes, but front/back duplexes on that size lot are becoming common (and many more would be allowed a laneway).

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Old 11-16-2020, 07:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger_handheld View Post
Not surprised but I find the standard lot duplexes are not big enough for a 4 person family.

is a vancouver special considered a 50 lot?
how to know lot size just by rough estimation?
duplexes work best for the condo owners making the jump but can't afford a full blown single family home.

for land size, we have bc assessment which will have most things you need to make a decision.

for the size you want (2500 sqft per unit), you will need to look in south burnaby.
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:23 PM   #9
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If you're planning on building in Vancouver you'll have a very hard time finding a lot big enough for what you want. The FSR (Floor Space Ratio) for a RS-1 (standard lot) is .7 meaning you can build up to 70% of the total lot size. For example on a regular 33x122 lot you can build about 2800sf. You need a 50x120 (6000sf) lot to build around what you need and those are very hard to come by - if you're looking in East Van figure a cost of $1.8-2M for the lot. Use Zealty.ca to look at listings by lot size.

Building cost wise you can go as low as $700K to build 4500sf but that's pretty low end work. For a custom home figure $250-270/sf in Vancouver.

I've been looking into building a duplex in East Van for a while now - just trying to get all the pieces to fall into place (money, partner etc). Feel free to DM me with your questions.
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:08 PM   #10
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Here's the How to Guide from the City of Vancouver on duplexes: https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/outri...w-to-guide.pdf

It covers the basics for a typical lot. Note stuff like how on lots that are 5500sf or larger that you have to have a legal suite.
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:09 PM   #11
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Duplexes are also possible in Burnaby but on fewer lots (66' lot width minimum for most areas) but because there are so few lots available they usually get snatched up by builders.
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Old 01-10-2021, 06:16 PM   #12
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Any progress on this tiger_handheld?

Turns out we may also try building a duplex with family.
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Old 01-10-2021, 08:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Any progress on this tiger_handheld?

Turns out we may also try building a duplex with family.
The level of effort/cost/inexperience dealing with general contractors and current life circumstances outweighed the benefits.

To buy a tear down duplex was easiest.

1M (tear down 1/2 side) + 1M (tear down 1/2 side) + (270/sqft * 4500sqft = 1.2M) = 3.2M

vs. buying newish duplex (non custom)
1.2 + 1.2 = 2.4M

that was some rough math we did.
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Sometimes we tend to be in despair when the person we love leaves us, but the truth is, it's not our loss, but theirs, for they left the only person who couldn't give up on them.


Make the effort and take the risk..

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't." - Eleanor Roosevelt
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