Zoning Notes for Homebuyers

by John Torres 09/27/2020

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Zoning laws have been in place in the United States for many years. They serve communities in a number of ways. As a home buyer, it is important to know and understand the zoning laws that cover any property you consider purchasing. 

Structures

Generally, residential zonings laws indicate what kind of structures can be built in a particular area. Some residential zones are restrictive and allow for only single-family homes within a neighborhood, other locations may welcome multi-family complexes. Some commercial zones allow space for both businesses and housing in the same area. If the home you are considering is in a location like this, be prepared for businesses to change and grow, potentially impacting the neighborhood.

Business

If you run a business from your home or plan to do so, be aware that this activity can be restricted within a residential zone. The general aim of this restriction is to keep traffic issues at bay as well as to limit noise or other disruptions within a neighborhood. Even if your business is conducted virtually, it’s still wise to check with your local zoning board to gain an understanding of the rules specific to your community.

Animals

Perhaps your dream is to raise goats or maybe you plan to move a flock of chickens with you when you relocate. Residential zones can have different rules that govern animals on your property. In some cases, farm animals are not allowed at all while other zones may limit the number of animals you can keep within a certain amount of acreage. 

It is possible to request a zoning change in some cases but the process can be difficult and long drawn out. With that in mind, it is best to know and understand local zoning laws before entering into an agreement to purchase.

About the Author
Author

John Torres

John Torres began his career in real estate with the CENTURY 21 Les Ryan’s Healdsburg Realtors office in 1986.  John rapidly became a Multi-Million Dollar producer in both listings and sales of Sonoma County properties.  He is a member of the North County Council of Realtors, National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors.  John has served on the Land Use Advisory Panel for Sonoma County.  John served as the Northern California Century 21 representative to the Easter Seals Society for 13 years.