These days, more and more people are ditching their nine-to-five jobs and starting their own business from home. That means you need a home that both has enough space and the right zoning.
How much does zoning matter if you plan to operate a business out of your own home? Plenty.
Why would anyone care what you’re doing?
Zoning exists for a number of reasons, including the quality of life in the neighborhood. People want to protect the value of their homes, and they might not take kindly to a home business that attracts a lot of people, creates a lot of noise, has a lot of deliveries or otherwise creates some kind of nuisance.
For example, you may think that a home bakery shouldn’t bother anybody and isn’t anybody’s business. However, your neighbors may not feel the same when they see your delivery van pulling in and out all the time or when there’s a parade of customers taking up their parking near a major holiday.
How do you know what the zoning is?
If you’re wise, you’ll make sure the zoning works for your plans before you invest your money in a home. No matter how perfect a home is for your business, it won’t do you any good if local ordinances will shut you down at the first complaint.
Generally, when you research zoning, you need to start at the most basic level and work your way up. That means:
- If there’s a homeowners association, look at the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) very carefully to see what they may prohibit.
- Look to the city’s website and investigate the local ordinances through the municipal building.
- Check the county’s website to see if there are any regulations there that might be problematic.
If you do run into trouble, you may be able to get a variance that will allow you to proceed with your plans – but that’s generally not a quick or easy process. That’s why it’s always best to have experienced legal guidance before you buy.