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Commercial zoning is an important factor that should play a role in your real estate purchase or rental. Zoning regulations help keep commerce in certain parts of a town or city while also keeping residential areas separated or limited in busy areas. There are many kinds of zoning, and the kind of zoning a property has could affect what you can do there.

One kind of zoning is residential zoning. This is zoning that allows for single-family homes or multifamily structures. This might include rental properties, depending on what they're intended to be used for.

Commercial zoning, on the other hand, is designed for retail stores and offices. Normally, it's not legal to live in a commercial building. Instead, you would need to have a dual-zoned property. For example, one that is zoned as commercial and residential property may have an upstairs apartment with a downstairs storefront.

Other kinds of zoning include agricultural, industrial and recreational. Each of these has its own restrictions, so it's important to know if the uses you have in mind correlate with the zones each property you're looking at falls under.

Don't take a previous owner's zoning tips when you decide on a property. Be warned that some people use properties for uses other than properties are intended. As a result, you could end up buying a property that isn't zoned for the purposes you expected. Be cautious and work with a professional to make sure you're signing a contract for a commercial property that is zoned correctly. Failing to do this could lead to long legal battles later on.

Source: FindLaw, "Commercial Zoning," accessed March 22, 2018

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