Planning And Zoning: Things to Look for When Purchasing Property
If you are thinking of investing in real estate – whether it is a residential property, commercial property, or vacant land – it’s vital to be aware of the local zoning laws and plans. It can give you a clear idea of what you can and cannot do with the property in question and help you decide whether it is worth investing in.
It is almost always a judicious idea to have a seasoned real estate attorney on your side who is experienced in planning and zoning matters and can guide you appropriate for your big ticket purchase.
Key Factors You Should Consider While Buying Property in Maryland
The first thing you need to find out about the property you want to buy is its zoning classification. The most common classifications include:
In some cases, these zoning classifications are further divided into subtypes as well. So, you need to find out which classification the property comes under and whether you are allowed to do what you plan to do.
For instance, if you are planning to start a home-based business, and if the property you want to buy is classified as ‘residential’, you need to find out whether you are allowed to run a home-based business out of your residence.
Similarly, if the property is located in an environmentally sensitive area, you might not be allowed to build any structure or rebuild any existing structure that could alter the topography of the land.
You can get a copy of the area’s zoning map to find out which classification the property in question comes under. It’s also a prudent idea to talk to the zoning administrator or any other official in charge to find out what you can and cannot do with the property.
Depending on the area where the property is located and the zoning classification it comes under, there might be several restrictions regarding what you can do with the property. These include:
- Height limits (how high the structure can be)
- Size limits (how large the structure can be)
- Size restrictions on accessory structures like garages and sheds
- Setback requirements (the distance to be maintained between your property and the neighboring properties)
- Lot coverage requirements (what percentage of the land should be covered)
- Density regulations (how many structures or units can be built on the land)
- Whether you are allowed to install a fence, pool, or a tree house on your property and the size restrictions – if any – regarding the same
- Whether you are allowed to park large vehicles like an RV or a boat in your driveway
Real estate – by its very nature – is a long-term investment. Before you invest, you need to find out whether the property in question is likely to increase in value over the next five to ten years. Apart from factors like location, crime rate, and access to public transportation, the government’s long-term plans – the schemes and projects they plan to implement over the next five to ten years – can also have a significant impact on your property’s value.
Depending on what the government intends to do, the area where the property is located in could transform for the better – or for the worse – in the future. For instance, what you thought might be the perfect spot for building a vacation house might turn into a bustling, high-density neighborhood in the future.
While it is not possible to predict exactly what the government plans to do – as their plans and proposals might change from time to time – you can obtain a poignant idea of what the locality will be like in 10 years’ time by talking to government planning officials, realtors, and property owners in the area.
Looking to Buy Property in Maryland? Our Real Estate Attorneys Can Help!
The real estate attorneys at Evans Law have over 80 years of combined experience in handling residential and commercial real estate disputes and land use disputes. We can find out the zoning restrictions in the area where you want to buy property and tell you whether it is best suited for your needs.
Our team can help you with civil litigation, contract related disputes, construction related disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, and many more. Our attorneys are trained in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and can resolve your disputes through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. If a negotiated resolution is not possible, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial and battle it out in court.
To talk to one of our experienced Maryland real estate lawyers, call our firm today at 410-626-6009 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.