Real Estate Zoning Basics

by Cary Garcia 03/22/2020

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

The regulations of real estate zoning have the potential to make or break a property, but not everyone is aware of these laws until they're confronted with the day-to-day realities of them. We'll look at the basics of zoning, and what investors and homeowners should keep in mind before making plans. 

There Are Few Absolutes 

When it comes to real estate zoning, there are very few assumptions you can make. Some neighborhoods give property owners near-total freedom to do whatever they like. Outside of breaking federal laws, owners are free to add, build and destroy at will. In other neighborhoods, there may be laws that govern practically any change you would ever want to make.

You may need to apply for any number of permits before you can be approved to improve your own property. If you live in an HOA, the regulations will become even more stringent, impacting everything from the color of your home to the length of your grass blades. 

Professionals May Have to Get Involved

Zoning laws may prevent owners from doing their own repairs, instead requiring them to contact a pre-approved contractor to complete the job. Or they may allow you to complete the job, only on the condition that you schedule an inspector to certify that the safety of the property. These laws are put in place because one owner's plumbing fiasco can quickly spread to a neighbor's yard, and one electrical miswiring can extinguish the power on the whole block. The good news is that even the most stringent neighborhoods will typically allow property owners to do their own prep work before professionals arrive. 

Zoning Laws Change 

Zoning laws are not static, which can make them confusing to adhere to. There's plenty of unpermitted work all over the nation, and it can cause a lot of headaches for owners if they're challenged to prove when and how work was completed. Because of this, you're encouraged to do a little research before making changes to the property. In addition, keep track of all receipts and documents that show the dates of the changes. And if you're planning to buy a home, consider how future laws might impact the property. For example, if your land comes under environmental protection status, it may severely impact its value and functionality. 

The zoning laws aren't there to impede property owners (although it may feel that way at times). These regulations were created to keep everyone in the area protected from serious property fiascos. Knowing the rules before you buy and following them after is a good way to keep yourself out of trouble. 

About the Author
Author

Cary Garcia

Marymount University - BS Finance

Georgetown University - Master's Real Estate

Associate Broker

Northern Virginia Association of Realtors ® Top Producers Club

  

Finding a real estate agent is easy. Finding a skilled agent is the hardest…What separates me from other real estate agents is my extensive knowledge of contract law and the market data of the region. You need an agent who understands the legality of the contract by enforcing the terms of the offer as well as all of the contingencies, addendums and disclosures. Before signing the offer, I will thoroughly explain the contract in detail, so you understand what you are committing to.I bring an expert’s perspective to help buyers and sellers make the right decisions. Because I understand the legal and highly emotional aspects associated with real estate transactions, I am able to provide expert guidance to help you make informed and educated decisions. In addition, I’m very skilled at project coordination. With so many people involved in the home sale process, I know how to create satisfying resolutions and make the process go as smoothly and successfully as possible.

My real estate business has the “clients for life” philosophy where I strive to excel in every aspect of my business, continually reinventing myself as I find better ways to achieve my clients’ goals. I’m constantly learning and reviewing my business, systems and processes, and asking myself: How can I improve my level of service to my clients?

My expertise encompasses all housing types, including co-ops, condos, single-family homes and multi-unit buildings. I welcome first time homebuyers, owners wishing to sell their homes, trade up or acquire income-producing properties. In addition, I warmly invite those interested in relocating to Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. 

With an in-depth view of the market, I know where to locate the properties that compliment your wish list and lifestyle. Moreover, when it’s time to sell, my innovative appraisal approach will help to appropriately price your property for maximum financial return. I focus on marketing that is effective – that is why I relentlessly track what works and what does not.

I recognize the common thread in each and every real estate transaction is a client with similar needs: exceptional customer service, an agent who understands the contract, neighborhood expertise and professional guidance throughout the process. I embrace all of these needs and work diligently to cater to them on every level of my business. I know Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas very well and know what it takes to earn a stellar reputation for giving clients’ what they ultimately want. I take this responsibility seriously and work tirelessly to ensure you receive all the information you need to make sound decisions that will affect your future. So when you’re ready to buy or sell property in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., set your sights high and give me a call. 

My expertise, dedication and perseverance will ensure your next move a complete success. I will help you achieve it.

TESTIMONIALS

Cary was fantastic in all respects. We will definitely recommend him to others. He went way above and beyond what was necessary in our first home buying experience.

– Barry Kennedy and Amy Kennedy

If it wasn’t for Cary’s hard work, we would not have the house we are now living in. … He was always patient, kind and informative. We knew that he was always on our side and trusted his judgment. He worked so tirelessly for us, without reservation. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a house in the Washington area.

– Daniel and Christine Mullins

Cary was very professional from the very beginning. He kept us informed throughout the whole entire selling process. Eventually…he helped us buy our next home. We will recommend him highly.

– Dr. Deborah Jones & Dr. Gregory Miller

For the past six years we have had a business relationship with Mr. Cary Garcia. He was our realtor during the purchase and sale of our home. … No detail was too small and nothing was overlooked. … I would recommend Cary Garcia to anyone looking for a hard working and trustworthy professional.

– Marc and Mona Lisa Gittleman