In keeping with our TEN THINGS ABOUT REALTORS column (which has taken much longer than I expected) we now move on to number six: Your realtor, although he/she may act like he/she knows about zoning laws about what you can and can’t do on your own property, they’re probably not as eloquent in zone-talk as you might think.
A lot of times, zoning restrictions are apparent. If you’re in the middle of an office park, then it’s probably safe to say that there’s not a chance you’re going to find a residential property there. Same goes vis-a-versa. If you’re a home-buyer, then typically you’re not too worried about zoning. Residential living is hardly ever offered in a commercial zone. By the time you get there, the restrictions have already been read, and followed. And your realtor’s not going to try and sell you a property that you’ll have to give up in a week because you intended it for residential purposes and legislative mandates said it was purely for business. That would be bad business.
There is a phenomenon occurring across the nation. As throngs of people move from the suburbs back into urban areas, we are seeing the rise of mixed-use developments. When walking was the primary mode of transport, all that existed was a form of mixed-use developments. However, as individual transportation became more and more the norm, it was a completely viable business model to stick your retail store in a shopping complex as opposed to opening it closer to where people live. Now that gas is so expensive and traveling proves to be more and more of a hassle for the everyday American, people are migrating closer to the places they work, thus the mixed-use developments are once again on the rise. Sorry suburbia. As specific-use zoning becomes more of a thing of the past and residencies move into the city, zoning laws will become a bit of a blurry subject, and sometimes, a touchy subject.
If you’re a home-buyer that’s looking to purchase a property and make major renovations, it would bode well for you to take a little extra time and figure out your property’s zoning restrictions as well as the ordinances therein.
Here’s an example: My friends who are brand now homeowners, purchased a house in the northern suburbs of Austin, TX. They bought it with plans to remodel their kitchen and once they started to do so, a neighbor called them in to the city on account of their minor remodel job. Now their kitchen is gutted with nothing but the drywall up, no sink, they have to eat out every night, their refrigerator is in the kitchen, and they’re so hung up in paperwork applying for a permit to finish the job, it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to host a party for the Texas Rangers season opener.
The above is a minor case of a zoning and ordinance mishap that can hinder any homeowner at having their dream home. It’s important to know what you can and can’t do with your land, and what you can and can’t do with your property. Although your realtor may seem like the expert when it comes to specific zoning and ordinances, every place is different. There would be nothing worse than buying a house with the intent to add a pool house and then find out that zoning laws say otherwise. Realtors aren’t planners.
Posts Tagged ‘for sale by owner zoning’
Tags: 10 things about realtors, building permits, building restrictions, Buying a Home, Dealing with Realtors, For Sale By Owner, for sale by owner zoning, FSBO, fsbo blog, fsbo real estate, home buyer, home owner, how to find your zone, mixed-use developments, realtors, urbanization, what to watch out for with realtors, zoning
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