What is a good plot size for a house
February 26, 2012 10:42 AM   Subscribe

1. What is the plot size of a typical bungalow and a 2-storey house in Toronto? I am trying to be knowledgeable about this so I can compare different houses on the MLS site.

2. What is a reasonable backyard size? I would like to have a backyard but not sure how big is too big.

3. What kind of heating system is best at the present time, electric, or natural gas?
posted by musicgold to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not familiar with Toronto housing, but #2 is going to need some more detail for any good answers. Do you enjoy gardening? Do you have kids, or a dog? Do you regularly entertain outdoors (eg, barbecue) or want to? The ideal size of a back yard is a pretty subjective thing.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:04 AM on February 26, 2012

I suggest looking at some houses that you can see on the street, that are listed. Then look up their listings. That will help you understand what appeals to you size-wise, and get a feel for what is what. It doesn't even matter if you're not in TO now - you could pick houses anywhere. It will give you a spatial sense of things.
posted by Listener at 11:35 AM on February 26, 2012

2. You will absolutely not find a yard in Toronto that is too big for your purposes. However, you may find a few that are too big for your budget. That's the trouble with buying houses in the city: It's often not the house that has value, it's the land.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:36 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

You know you can see the plot sizes themselves for each individual house on the MLS (realtor.ca) site, right? It is labled "land size" to the right of the photograph and you can toggle it between imperial and metric. Otherwise, it varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood but tends to be pretty consistent within neighbourhoods (compare the Kensington Market and East York for example).

Backyard is subjective, mine is small (20feet*40ish) and it suits the needs of my three children. i won't be getting a pool anytime soon though.

You do not want electric. Your bills will be insane, especially if it is electric heat (baseboards). In Toronto, a lot of older homes have radiators, look for a gas fired boiler or else one that has a boiler that can be easily replaced (for a friends, asbestos removal around the old boiler is what jacked her price up). Keep in mind central air conditioning systems need the duct work of forced heating (furnace - again, gas is best and factor in the cost of replacing an oil furnace into your offer). Actaul;ly, if you are buying ANY house in Toronto, factor in the cost of renovations.
posted by saucysault at 12:37 PM on February 26, 2012

No Toronto lot will be too big. Lot size has been getting smaller and smaller so newer homes generally have smaller lots with houses very close together.

You DO NOT WANT electric heating it will cost a fortune (not to buy, but to operate). First choice would be forced air natural gas. Electric heating would be a deal breaker for me unless the cost and hassle of switching to gas was factored into the sale price.

Do you live in Toronto now? What area of the city are you looking at?
posted by saradarlin at 12:48 PM on February 26, 2012

Oh, and just to give you some numbers: 100 feet is a common lot depth and widths vary. 40' wide for newer or very tight housing. 50' is common on older homes. 70' for a bungalow. Townhouses are often 20' to 25' wide.

Good luck with the search!
posted by saradarlin at 12:53 PM on February 26, 2012

Best answer: Here's the City's web app that lets you look up lot boundaries: TOMaps. It'll give you an idea of what lot boundaries look like in any neighbourhood you're interested in. It'll also show you if the building on the lot, or the neighbouring lots, rests on/beyond the boundary, which is surprisingly common with old houses in Old Toronto.

It is not intuitive, so here's a step-by-step:

1. Type in an address (I used 35 Golden Ave, the office building I'm currently building out).
2. Click on the map at least once to zoom in. (Note that the zoom tool is turned on by default.)
3. Once you've zoomed in, click the checkbox beside "Properties" along the right side. (If you can't see "Properties", zoom in more.)
4. Click "Map It" at the top right.
5. It'll probably still be too small to tell, so zoom in even more, etc.

If you need to zoom back out, choose the "zoom out" tool and then click the map. There's a bunch of other useful things along the right side there, like schools and housing projects, that you can turn on too.

On the other hand for a rough idea you can usually just bring up the area in Google Maps' satellite view and see where the fences are. I found Bing Maps useful when house-hunting too, because they provide the "bird's-eye" aerial view that gives a nice happy medium between street view and satellite.

(For instance, here are the houses across the street from said office in Google Maps, and here they are in Bing's bird's-eye view.)

That said, the answers to all of your questions vary a lot throughout the amalgamated Toronto. Lots downtown are smaller than lots at the outside edge of Etobicoke. There aren't a lot of bungalows in the denser parts of the city.

Natural gas heat is best, electric is very expensive. You'll probably find forced air, but a boiler and radiator is perfectly serviceable too. Some older houses still have oil; my understanding from when we bought last summer is that oil is not far off from gas in costs, but higher in maintenance and pain-in-the-ass-ness. But converting is expensive too.

(And just to make the conversations easier with realtors, etc -- you'll usually hear the land called a "lot" rather than a "plot".)
posted by mendel at 1:17 PM on February 26, 2012

(Also, I checked your history hoping to find out if you already lived in TO or not, and I noticed a bunch of questions that would be right up a real estate agent's alley. You'll almost certainly need one eventually anyhow to handle the sale, so I'd recommend you find one sooner rather than later, since it's this kind of stuff where you can make them earn their commission!)
posted by mendel at 1:26 PM on February 26, 2012

Check on mls.ca and have a look at real estate listings in different neighbourhoods to see what's typical for that area. In my neighbourhood, I see a a detached two storey home that has a lot 22x116. I see a bungalow with a lot 30X90. Over in the other side of town, I see a bungalow with a lot 45x122 or a two storey with a 40X128 lot. Of course more money gets you lots more land, so there is no "typical." It's a big town with a lot houses for lots of different prices.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:30 PM on February 26, 2012

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