If you have your eye on vacant land that is for sale, you have more to think about than what price you’ll pay for it. You have to do a little research before you purchase the land or you might find that you can’t do what you intended with the land. You might run into what’s called zoning issues.
Each piece of land has what’s called a zoning designation. If you don’t know what the zoning designation is, you may end up sorely disappointed. In addition to the zoning itself, you must know the restrictions enforced within that zoning. For example, a piece of land may be zoned residential, but it might be only for single-family homes, not townhomes. If you intended to build townhomes, you could have land and no way to use it.
So how do you know what to look for? Keep reading to find out.
Find Out the Zoning Designation
The first thing you should do before purchasing vacant land is find out the zoning designation. You can start with the seller or the real estate agent. They should be able to tell you the zoning for the area, but you should likely double check the information you are provided.
The local government office in the town where the land is located should have zoning maps. You can visit the office or call them over the phone and inquire about the zoning for the land. This is a great opportunity to determine what uses the surrounding land can have as well. If you are buying the vacant land for residential purposes, you’ll want to pay close attention to what can be built nearby.
Know the Zoning Restrictions to Avoid Zoning Issues
Next, you’ll want to get detailed information on the zoning restrictions. For example, an area may be zoned for residential, but have restrictions within that zone. It may be just for single-family homes, not for multi-family homes. There may also be environmental or aesthetic zoning designations you must follow. You have to follow all zoning designations or sub-designations, not just one.
Requesting a Zoning Change
It might be possible to request a zoning change for a particular area, but you will have your work cut out for you. Most cities don’t easily change zoning or make zoning exceptions. You’ll have to discuss your needs/desires with the city’s zoning department as well as write letters and provide proof of why you think the zoning change will be beneficial for the area.
In short, make sure you know the zoning designation for a piece of land very well before purchasing it. If you are unsure of what you will do with the land, you should wait to figure it out. Even if you buy land in a commercial zone, it doesn’t mean all commercial properties will be allowed. You need to know as many specifics as possible in order to ensure that you get the use out of the land that you had hoped without facing zoning issues.Click to See the Latest Mortgage Rates»