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In 2015, Canadians reached a milestone where adults over age 65 now outnumber children under 15. With seniors being over 16% of the population and continuing to increase, many Canadians are finding themselves in the middle stages of life, with children at home and parents who also need some level of care.
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Maybe you are in this situation yourself and have decided that having your parents move in, or moving in with them, might be the best option for everyone. Benefits of a combined living arrangement might include:
So, you’ve decided to go ahead. Either you are relocating, or they are. The problem is, the house needs work in order to accommodate everyone. What are your building options?
Either way, you’ll have a significant amount of planning to do. Be sure to have your ducks in a row before you begin. Get the proper permits because the fines can be substantial, and the liability can be devastating if anything goes wrong. Consult with your local building department for full requirements around fire separation, sound transmission classifications and septic systems (for rural properties).
If done well, your upgrades can increase the value of your property. Unless you are highly skilled, hire a designer or an architect as well as a contractor. Involve your parents in the process by allowing them to contribute to the design process and work on the project, if possible.
Your budget is going to be extremely important. You don’t want to overextend yourself and you don’t want to be stuck with an unfinished renovation. Be as accurate as possible in estimates. Any builder will tell you there are going to be unexpected costs. Changes to design, forgotten items, and unexpected upgrades will mean coming in over-budget. If you tack on an extra 10% to your initial cost calculation, you can avoid being sidelined by unanticipated expenses. Consider the following costs:
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Your budget will depend on the size of your renovation and how much work you will be doing yourself. After determining the amount of money you will need, you can decide how to pay for the work. Perhaps you or your parents have personal savings from which you can draw. That being the best option, most of us will need to find another solution. You may consider one or more of the following possibilities:
No matter how you decide to finance your project, lenders will take several factors into consideration. You will need to provide information about:
If your parents will be contributing financially, lenders may also take that into consideration. It is wise to have a family discussion, prior to beginning the project, about how mortgage payments, renovation costs, utilities, and other bills will be shared. This will also help in the early planning and budgeting stages.
When your renovation is finished and your finances are established, don’t forget to claim the associated tax breaks when you file your income taxes. Talk to your accountant about credits and rebates that may be available in your province or territory. A couple of examples are:
Planning for a renovation so that you can share a residence with your parents is a complex process. Whether you want to share costs, reduce geographical distance or provide a greater amount of care, you have many options to fund the work. When you take the time to budget responsibly and carefully consider all of your options, you will find solutions that will work for everyone involved.
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