March 9, 2021

Suite Additions with Andy Tran

After seeing opportunities to improve communities and help people gain financial security through various housing densification strategies, Andy Tran founded Suite Additions. He is a registered house and small Buildings designer, a real estate investor a...


After seeing opportunities to improve communities and help people gain financial security through various housing densification strategies, Andy Tran founded Suite Additions. He is a registered house and small Buildings designer, a real estate investor and developer. Andy focuses on housing densification opportunities for himself and clients he works with, specifically second suites, detached accessory units, and infill development.

In this episode, Andy shares how densification properties earn him a very good income. He did it on top of helping communities deal with rising housing costs, real estate costs, and increased immigration. He identifies different densification opportunities not only to profit from but also to help build better housing for the communities he works in.

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What you’ll learn in just 17 minutes from today’s episode:

  • Learn where to find out which cities allow for densification properties 
  • Find out the legalities involved in doing secondary suite additions 
  • Discover how to do legal conversions of non-conforming suites 

Resources/Links:

Topics Covered: 

01:31 – What is densification in real estate 

03:43 – How he came about into densification 

05:43 – How to find out areas or cities that are encouraging densification 

07:29 – Of legal versus illegal suites, conforming versus non-conforming suites 

09:43 – Why the need to inform the insurance company that you have a second suite 

11:15 – Approximate cost to put in a conforming secondary suite 

12:39 – How to bring non-conforming suites up to legal standards 

Key Takeaways: 

“I think the first thing to get into densification is just to check out the information that’s available on the city’s website. A lot of the cities that are encouraging densification, you’ll see that they have documents and things like that, regarding doing conversions, and a lot of them will have two or three-page document that outlines the process.” – Andy Tran  

“We’re finding that a lot of cities are encouraging homeowners as well as investors, developers to densify existing low rise residential neighborhoods. They’re encouraging things like second suites, garden units, laneway houses, and we’re seeing that starting to take hold in Ontario.” – Andy Tran 

“I do encourage people to kind of look into your properties first, your principal residence. If you have an existing portfolio, see what you can do there. And if not, I would say, look at a municipality where it is more friendly towards that type of project.” Andy Tran 

“There are two things to bring non-conforming suites up to snuff. It is whether you have the proper fire separation and all the safety items that are there. Things like egress windows, smoke alarms. The rules are very similar across the country with regards to those, though there are slight variations based on province.” – Andy Tran 

“In my experience, I would say the majority of cities that I’ve worked with are fairly reasonable in bringing up the legal non-conforming units to the current standard.” – Andy Tran 

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