In the GTA area today the demand for rented accommodation is positively exploding and many Toronto property experts are looking towards commercial renovations and refurbishments as a way to feed this hungry market.
In many of our city centres old sandstone buildings lie empty, unable to be rented out for business purposes due to the current trend of companies preferring open planned offices for their staff. This is where well planned commercial renovations can save these buildings and put them once again to good use.
The current financial crisis means that there are ongoing problems within the mortgage market and the Association of Residential Letting Agents has said that the US is facing a "severe rental housing shortage" which is opening doors for many existing and would be buy-to-let landlords.
Investing in commercial renovations at this time may be a good idea. Many pubs once housed in these old buildings have closed due to the March 2006 smoking ban and the recession has hit smaller businesses hard causing them to give up their premises. Many of these properties can be found in city centres all over the area which make them ideal candidates for commercial renovations and refurbishments to be carried out, turning empty offices into residential flats for renting.
The market for these flats is growing as more and more young people find themselves unable to get onto the property ladder. They need somewhere of their own, can't get a mortgage for a variety of reasons but are finding flats to rent in good areas are scarce.
In order to maximise rental income it is important to choose the right project. Picking the right property to renovate is similar to choosing where to buy a house. There are key factors to consider such as;
- Local schools
- Availability of public transport
- Garden and aspect
- How close are the nearest shops?
- How much is the council tax?
- What is the history of the building?
- What type of central heating does the property have?
These are a few of the general considerations that you will have to bear in mind before you begin your project but in addition, when you are renovating a property once used as a commercial building and converting it for residential use there are other issues for consideration such as;
- The local councils requirements for car parking and vehicle access
- The impact of increased traffic
- Requirements for amenity space set by the local council
The actual cost involved in commercial renovations has a great deal to do with the condition of the building and what it was originally used for. A very rundown property may not be financially viable and you should always consult an architect before committing to the project.
Having an architect work with you from the beginning, like Nostco Construction, will be an invaluable resource as their eye for what will and will not work may save you from making some costly mistakes. A good architect will be able to advise how many flats your building will comfortably turn into, how to best tackle the interior work, will explain what exterior improvements are needed and they will lead you through any paperwork such as planning applications and building warrants.
They will deal with local council planning officers, builders and other tradesmen and will keep an eye on your budget and your timescales to ensure that everyone is working towards making your project a success. In short a good, reliable architect is worth their weight in gold and engaging their service should be viewed as an investment you can not afford not to make.
So even in a time of property doom and gloom there is money to be made and rental flats to provide. If you are an existing landlord with a grade B commercial property, in the centre of a city, which is sitting empty, then you are well placed to start thinking about commercial renovations. Your empty building could soon be earning you a nice rental income.
For existing or would be property developers get an architect and start looking for property to renovate, there could be a gold mine in your city centre and you should start digging.