Bill Aibel | Cambridge Real Estate, Somerville Real Estate, Boston Real Estate, Newton Real Estate


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Most home shoppers do not think about how the property they are considering is zoned. However, depending on certain circumstances, it may prove beneficial to check into zoning restrictions before you purchase a home. First, some homes are built in areas where there is mixed zoning — residential and commercial — which could cause problems when you are searching for a home mortgage. Your real estate agent is obligated to inform you of any special zoning of a property you are considering.

Work from Home Zoning Requirements

Some municipalities have specific requirements for home office work. While those who work from home doing computer coding, telemarketing, or data entry may not have clients or other people coming in and out of their home during business hours, it is still important to verify with the city or town that local business licensing requirements are met.

Other types of businesses that work directly with customers such as pet grooming, hairdressers, nail technicians, or day care providers should make sure their physical location is zoned appropriately. In some cities and towns, having a home business that involves customers come to your house can run afoul of zoning rules. Since your business may create additional traffic, it is something you should consider before you sign a purchase and sale agreement.

Mixed Zoning May Increase Taxes

As a buyer, you should also be aware of how zoning laws impact your taxes. For example, most municipalities have different tax rates for property which is zoned residential and commercial, others may have a different rate for property which is classified as mixed. In nearly all cases, property with a commercial zoning classification means higher taxes. Keep in mind, it is not unusual to find multi-family homes built in commercial or mixed zone areas.

Buyers should be aware there are some municipalities with zoning requirements that can impact their ability to have certain outbuildings on their property including sheds, barns, and decks. Your real estate agent should be able to answer any zoning questions you have and help you determine if they will have an impact on your ability to get financing or use the property in the manner you intend.