Things to Consider When Buying an Infill Housing Lot

Infill housing developments are playing a huge role in shaping the future of housing in Edmonton! They are helping to reduce environmental impacts by making use of existing city resources like utilities, parks, schools and transit, and making walkable communities more accessible. They continue to revitalize mature neighbourhoods, and transform curb appeal with their architectural and design flare.

Great infill homes start by finding the perfect place to build, and so here are 5 things to consider when choosing the best infill housing lot:

  1. Price
    This is an excellent starting point! Knowing what you are approved for beforehand helps with financial planning and ultimately determines the size and style of home that you can afford. When it comes to purchasing a lot that contains an existing structure. it’s also important to do some research beforehand and decide on the margins that you’re hoping to achieve as a buyer or investor. If opting for a teardown lot, ideally the cost should range from one third to half of the final price of your newly completed infill home. I.e.) If the final cost of your infill home is $400,000, then the cost of your teardown unit should be between $132,000 and $200,000.
  2. Location
    Think about where you spend a considerable amount of time and determine if the area you’re looking to purchase the infill housing lot in best serves those needs. For example, are you wanting to be close to schools, your favourite grocery store, a leisure centre, or shopping mall? Or, is walkability important to you? If so, deciding on an area that is close to bus routes, bike lanes, or parks may be ideal. One of the many advantages of infill is that the opportunities to build are often located within established urban areas and are near some great amenities, and so it really comes down to deciding on an area that’s the best fit for you.
  3. Size
    This will depend on a few factors; a few of which to consider: Is the lot the right shape and size for the structure that you are wanting to build? Will there be enough parking? How will the neighbouring units obstruct the natural lighting that you are hoping to achieve? Are you wanting to maintain a sizeable backyard? How will the unit size compare to surrounding homes? Are you considering building or investing in a multiplex? And, will the lot meet the municipal size requirements needed to gain the necessary permits, etc.? Based on your answers, an interior designer can likely work with you to create a custom floor plan; one that considers your budget, available space, long term goals, provides a functional layout, and maintains its value long term.
  4. Condition
    When opting to build an infill housing development there are a couple of options: 1) look for ones that may not quite be up to standards but are in a desirable neighbourhood I.e.) smaller than average square footage, dated kitchens, insufficient number of baths, not energy efficient, or that which may have some structural issues. 2) Skip the complete tear down and opt for a major renovation instead. By adding onto the existing foundation, roofline and a portion of the existing wall(s), it may be easier and quicker to obtain the necessary permits for your build. The end decision will likely be based upon timeframe, style of home that you’re looking to build (multiplex vs. single detached), and budget.
  5. Consult with a professional
    Get in touch with a realtor, or custom home builder  that is knowledgeable about infill homes. They can work with you to help you find a lot beyond the above scope, and should be able to perform a feasibility study to help determine whether the lot(s) that you are interested in purchasing (or investing in) would be a viable option for infill development. In addition, your custom home builder may also have some available units already acquired that you can choose from.

Interested in learning more about infill housing? We’d love to chat! Follow us on social media or contact us today!

Affordable Infill: 5 Ways That you can Save

Infill housing is growing in Edmonton! It is a great opportunity to live near the hub of the city, and be within walking distance of all the best amenities that an established neighbourhood provides. And, it’s more affordable than you may think! Here’s 5 ways that you can achieve affordable infill and maximize the value of your next build:

Quality over quantity
Focus more of your budget on the basic building blocks such as a quality foundation, electrical, plumbing, ductwork, heating and cooling, roofing and windows; the fundamentals that are harder to update later on and that can help achieve some instant savings on things like heating and cooling costs. Non-essential items like adding on a back splash, building a deck, installing blind packages etc. can be added at a later date as both your time and budget allow.

Build up
Consider adding a second-story. By doing so, you are easily able to double the square footage while not doubling the foundation and roofing cost which often account for two of the biggest expenses when building your next home.

Centralize the plumbing
Spend some time with an experienced interior designer who can help you create a functional layout that best serves your needs, while allowing heavy plumbing areas to be in close proximity to reduce the cost of running plumbing all across the house.

Think simple, Combine brands
By shopping around and utilizing more than one supplier for fixtures and finishes, you can often achieve better value for your spend. And, don’t be afraid to go with basic finishes. This will make updating easier and less costly when considering preserving the value of your home long term.

2 for 1
Consider purchasing a larger infill housing lot with a family member or friend for the purpose of subdividing. It’s a great way to reduce your overall spend by reducing your cost of the land.  If unable to find someone to subdivide a property with; reach out to your new home developer to see if they would be willing to help. Alternately, consider adding on a basement or garage suite as a form of extra revenue.

Ready to start building or investing in your next home? Contact Us, we would love to help you get started!

Top 5 Reasons to Work With a Custom Home Builder

Building a home is an exciting time! Whether you’ve considered tearing down and rebuilding your existing home, adding on an extension or garage suite that you’ve always wanted, or building your dream home in a different location altogether; finding the right type of builder to work with is important when bringing your vision to life. Here’s 5 reasons why you should consider working with a custom home builder:

1. Better Value
Consider the custom home builder to be your one stop shop for all aspects of the custom build or major renovation. Through the custom builder, you essentially have access to an entire team of designers, architects, builders, contractors, project management. This means you won’t have to hire each individual separately. They will take the time to sit down with you, make notes of everything that you want in your new home or renovation. Using their combined knowledge and experience, they will be able to put together a plan that best suits your needs, and make further recommendations.

2. Communication is Streamlined
You have direct access to your project manager, which means that any concerns or questions that you have throughout the build process can be immediately addressed or answered. And, because you’re not having to go through a string of people to find the answers you’re looking for, you end up saving time, and miscommunication is reduced.

3. Quality
Your custom home builder has years of experience, can advise on where to focus more of your investment so that it retains value, and is committed to ensuring you have access to the highest quality materials for the best price.

4. Relationship
You are more than just a project number. Through working with a skilled team, relationships that go beyond the scope of the custom home build or renovation are often developed. Your project manager often becomes your friend over the course of the meetings, updates, and really works to advocate on your behalf to achieve your vision of your dream home.

5. Built Around Your Budget
Building a custom home means that you’re in control of your spending which means that you are not paying for the features and items that you don’t want or need. It means having the ability to discuss your budget in the beginning stages and have the builder develop a home around your numbers. And, the custom home builder will continue to monitor the costs through the building process to make sure that you’re not going over your budget.

Ready to start on that major renovation, or take the next steps towards building your dream home? Contact us and start planning today!

Thank You

It’s been just over 2 months since our Urban Sky Cares holiday season campaign kicked off, and once again it has been a tremendous success thanks YOUR help and generosity on social media! For this initiative, a large portion of our campaign was spent partnering with Christmas Bureau of Edmonton; an amazing organization which serves to provide a festive meal and coordinaton of Christmas giving to Edmontonians in need. And, with your help, $2,500 was raised as we helped to #passtheplateyeg. We then matched that amount, bringing the combined total to $5,000 donated which meant that 76 families were able to have a Christmas meal to gather around!

Christmas Bureau of Edmonton shared these kind words:

We at Urban Sky Developments want to thank to every one who donated and helped to make this campaign so successful! Follow us on social media to learn more about our upcoming events!

Advantages of Open Concept Floor Plans in Infill Homes

When designing your new home it’s important to consider functionality and layout in order to create a home that works best for you. That said, when it comes to infill housing, open concept designs pair really well to create a space that flows. If you haven’t yet decided on a design, here’s why you should consider an open floor plan:

1.Effective use of space. By having the kitchen, dining area and living room integrated, it creates a more inviting space that is perfect for entertaining. You could even take this one step further by having a deck flow off of the kitchen to create one continual space.

2. Increased natural lighting which comes from having larger windows, and perimeter lighting from adjacent areas of the open floorplan.

3. Safety. If you’re planning on having kids, having an open concept plan means that you can always keep an eye on them. Whether you’re in the kitchen and watching them play in the living room, or in the living room reading a book and able to watch them play on the deck; this layout provides peace of mind.

4. Encourages family time vs spending time individually in a compartmentalized space. With an open layout families can now spend time in the same space. Whether it’s the living area, kitchen, outdoor deck; they are all connected.

5. An open concept floor plan is essentially a blank canvas. By moving furniture around you can effectively change the look, feel, and size of an area because you’re not restricted by segregating walls. Need to make the living room bigger for family during the holidays? No problem! Just move your dining table, and you’ll have increased seating space and the appearance of a larger living room area.

6. More space. By reducing hallways, and unnecessary walls, you have an increase in actual living space, which means more room in your home to utilize however you would like.

7. Improved energy efficiency. Having one open space means that it is easier to heat and cool which can translate into a decreased cost of utilities. When it’s hot outside, cooling one main area is easier than trying to cool multiple compartmentalized ones. And, when it’s cool, those larger windows serve to create a greenhouse type effect and provide heating additional heating.

Ready to start designing your next home? Contact us, we would love to work with you to design the perfect space!

Urban Sky Cares About Edmonton’s Food Bank

Urban Sky Cares is back during the holiday season, and we are thrilled to be helping Edmonton’s Food Bank through our social media buzz and would love for you to become involved!

From now through January 14th, 2018 Urban Sky will be popping up on our various social media platforms and donating $1 for every retweet/post like, or other participatory action with a maximum of $100 per daily blitz!

During this time, we will be blogging and updating you on the success of the campaign. And, we will also be highlighting this organization and sharing what it is that they do in the city, and ways in which you can become involved.

Please watch for us and join in!

To learn more about Edmonton’s Food Bank and other ways that you can help please visit here

The Missing Middle: Your Guide to Identifying an Emerging Housing Type

You may have heard the phrase missing middle, but what exactly is it?

The phrase ‘missing middle’ refers to multi-unit housing forms like duplexes, triplexes, row housing, and low-rise apartments – bridging the gap between small scale single-family homes and larger scale apartment buildings. Coined by architect and urban planner Daniel Parolek (Principal and Founder of Opticos Design Inc.), missing middle Housing was once common (think pre-World War II), but has more or less vanished over the last 60 to 70 years, giving way to single detached houses and soaring apartment towers.
Driven by consumer demand, small-scale multi-unit housing is coming back into vogue. This type of infill housing has the ability to blend relatively seamlessly into a typical mature neighbourhood, if offers a bit more affordability than a typical house, and it often boasts nearby shopping and transit, amenities that appeal to millennials and baby boomers alike.

How to Identify Missing Middle Housing

Still relatively rare, it helps to have a guide in hand to help you spot this emerging housing form.

*It’s usually within walking distance to various amenities and services, and tends to have less on-site parking than a typical house.
*It typically offers a small to medium-sized living area. Missing middle residents are often trading square footage for good design and a convenient location.
*It adds housing options, but remains unobtrusive in existing neighbourhoods.
*It tends to sell at a lower price point than single detached housing in the same area, since unit sizes are smaller.

What Makes Missing Middle Housing so Great, Anyway?

*Since most infill housing is situated within mature communities that are close to commercial destinations and various amenities, opportunities to use alternate transportation such as walking, cycling, or transit are more easily available. This helps reduce overall emissions within the city.
*Infill also encourages better utilization of existing infrastructure and services, so that city spending can be focused more on maintenance and/or upgrading costs as needed (vs continuously building new infrastructure as the city continues to expand outward).
*Another advantage is an increase in housing options. Whether you’re looking to upgrade, or downsize, missing middle housing provides options to stay within a neighbourhood that you love while choosing a home that best suits your needs and budget.
*Local businesses and community services can be sustained through increased density and usage (for example coffee shops, grocery stores, schools, recreation facilities, etc.).

The missing middle is a key form of infill. IDEA (Infill Development Edmonton Association) recognizes that the missing middle will help shape Edmonton into a collection of dynamic neighbourhoods. As our city grows, infill will play a greater role in the redevelopment and overall sustainability of our city. We are excited to see Edmonton evolve as the missing middle takes shape. IDEA is working actively with administration and Council to promote the missing middle in Edmonton.

Example of different forms of housing:

Sources:
cityofedmontoninfill.ca
Missingmiddlehousing.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_Middle_Housing

How long does the interior design process take for an infill property?

Assuming that the architectural design is already established, here’s what you can expect:

Start by meeting with the interior designer. This can either be over 1 meeting or over several depending on the scope of the project and client expectations.  It’s during the initial meetings where you’ll discuss design inspiration, start to establish a common language, and begin space planning. Basically, this is where the interior designer learns a bit more about you and your needs so that they, in turn, can recommend a layout that’s functional and adds value. Meetings can take place in the clients existing home where the designer can bring samples and ideas to the client, or at various retailers, depending on each client and their needs.

Next, the exterior design is reviewed. It’s important to spend some time on this component as it is complex, detailed and above all will make or break the first impressions of your home. In Edmonton, the natural elements tend to be hard on exteriors and so choosing materials that best withstand the elements while best capturing the desired look of your home is key. Unsure of which materials to use? Draw inspiration from neighbouring local communities, or through a quick search online, while working with your designer.

Once a design layout is presented, there’s always the opportunity for design changes should the client desire. These discussions may take place over multiple meetings, phone calls or emails. The key at this stage is to ensure the client is confident in the design and vision. And, if it doesn’t resonate, don’t be afraid to say something. Doing so helps to ensure that the end product is achieved as close to the client’s vision as possible, and mitigates the risk of any disappointment with the finalized look of the home. Have questions along the way? Ask. A solid design professional will be able to answer them and help put your mind at ease.

Framing of the home then begins! And, following any desired changes, the final design concept is then presented to the client along with prices and lead times for items to begin placing orders. This presentation can include a 3D rendering (an artistic interpretation, though, not an exact document) of what the space will look like. And, most often this stage will include a floor plan, reflected ceiling plan, kitchen and bath detailed elevations as well as a detailed list of finishes (including pictures) and locations. This step tends to either come together very quickly or to be more time intensive depending on the client’s expectations.

Next, fixture locations also need to be determined; because once they are roughed in they are very costly to move. Generic locations may work for some applications but if this is a home that you will be residing in for any period over 2 years, it is best to mark out the locations which best suit your needs during a site walkthrough. Although this can be achieved by clearly explaining your vision to your designer who can then go out to the site to mark the locations, it’s often best to complete a joint walk-through with the designer, project manager, and trades.  It is always best to move through the space and get it figured out in the real world than off of a drawing.
Boarding then begins. And, it is here that drywall is added, mudding and taping take place. Once complete, the house is then painted and finished off with the installation of lighting, flooring, cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and finishing fixtures including accessories and plumbing.

Overall, the interior design process for an infill home depends on a few factors such as the size of the home, what the client desires and what their budget allows, how often a client changes their mind, availability of supplies/materials and sometimes unforeseen setbacks during construction. And, when determining the cost, know that each project has allowable billable hours; some of which is spent with the client in meetings and some are spent sourcing materials, or sketching.  If you are considering hiring an interior designer to either assist you in the design process, or to complete the design from start to finish; set aside a budget, have a clear contract with allowable hours, and if ever there are any doubts check in with them.

LIFECYCLE OF AN INFILL HOUSING BUILD (PART 3)

You’re confident with the layout and planning of your new home, have made a decision on any last minute structural changes or additions, and you’re happy with the drawings that have been submitted for the development permit! It’s now time to look at PHASE 3:  FINAL PLANS, BUILDING PERMIT AND START OF CONSTRUCTION

  • Once you are satisfied that all your needs have been met, Urban Sky will move to a final set of plans that we will use to actually build your home. After obtaining your development permit, our designers can proceed to the third step of the design process for your custom home.
  • The design team next prepares site plans and drawings needed for the building permit. This entails detailed floor plans, detailed exterior elevations, roof plans and electrical plans. Our team creates a building permit package and takes care of everything required to proceed to the construction process.
  • Urban Sky will complete the full set of construction drawings and specifications for your home once the Development Permit is approved. We will incorporate any items you have added during the interior design process and change orders will be issued for any items that have cost implications from the original agreement. We will meet for a final sign off of the construction documents and then apply for the Building Permit.
  • During the permitting process, Urban Sky will be busy preparing your property for the new build by coordinating demolition, utility disconnects and the removal of any hazardous materials that may be required. In the interim, you will meet with Urban Sky’s professional Interior Designers to start developing the look and feel of your home’s interior. Our Designers will guide you through the selection of all your interior appointments, including everything from colors to cabinets, flooring, lighting, and appliances.
  • Once the Building Permit is issued, construction on your new home can begin. You will be introduced to your Site Superintendent who will schedule regular inspections with you during the building process. This will enable you to watch your new home take shape as the build progresses!

Are you ready to start building your next home? Contact Us! Our team is happy to work with you to bring your vision to life.

LIFECYCLE OF AN INFILL HOUSING BUILD (PART 2)

We’re passionate about working with you to create homes that boast functionality, intelligent design, your unique tastes and are budget specific! This week we take a look at Phase 2: Revisions and Drawing Preparation for a Development Permit.

Once we’ve had the chance to meet and go over all of your wants and needs within your new home, and have the conceptual design in place, the next step is to turn that design into the highly detailed plans that will be required for the Development Permit Application. Supplementary review meetings will be required to finalize the look of your new home and to determine specifications. Once all reviews and specifications are complete, the final pricing for your home will be established.

Following this, we work to prepare your drawings to obtain a development permit. Urban Sky will then work through a series of revisions in order to refine the initial concept into a computer-generated CAD drawing of your dream home. In this phase, Urban Sky develops the structural design in detail based on your selections for exterior materials and finishes. We will also have refined front elevation and completed drawings that are required for obtaining your Development Permit as well as for preparing your project summary budget.

With the approval of the final price and specifications we move on to the purchase agreement. Once you sign a Sales Agreement with Urban Sky, we will submit a formal Development Permit Application to the City. The permitting process can take between several weeks, depending on the nature of the development being proposed.

Stay tuned next week as we cover topics like final plans, building permits, and the start of constructing your new home! Have a question or would like to learn more? Contact Us.

 

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Head Office

780.504.0005
TOM.KEOGH@URBANSKYDEVELOPMENTS.CA
13916 BUENA VISTA RD.
EDMONTON, AB, CA T5R 5S1

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