Shari Sagan McGuirk's Blog
A neighborhood is a neighborhood. And a business district is a business district, right? Unfortunately, it's not so cut and dry. There are actually nine major zoning types in most areas. And these can impact things like home use, home value, and property taxes. Zoning can change over time.
Let's explore the five you're most likely to encounter.
Generally, this property is intended exclusively for money-making purposes.
Commercial zoning has several sub-categories that may define how the land can be used. This varies by city but may include:
Certain commercial buildings may have added restrictions such as distance from a school or residential area. As a home-buyer, it's important to consider how commercial property near you is zoned. For example, if an apartment complex may go up in that vacant lot down the street someday, this may impact whether you want to move here now.
Residential zoning can include a wide variety of housing types:
Whether these are allowed depends on local and community codes. For example, many city ordinances may state that mobile homes are not permitted in city limits. This may impact tiny houses as well.
Residential zoning typically prohibits "farm animals". So building a barn or keeping a cow in the back yard may be against the law. What is permitted may impact the community and home values change over time. So it's vital to consider.
Rural zones cover land outside a metropolitan area or in between towns. People of this property often have more control over what they do with their land. They'll typically pay less for land in these areas as well as fewer taxes. That also means that homes may appreciate less in these areas.
But keep in mind, if rural land is close to city limits, it may become residential at some point. This may increase your home value because you now have access to city services. But you'll also see property taxes rise.
When cities want to maintain the charm of an older part of town, they may classify it as historic. If you move here, you will have to comply with rules intended to keep an original style. But as a trade-off, you may be entitled to grants and federal tax credits. If well-maintained, a historic home can be an exciting place to live.
Aesthetic districts are designed to maintain a unified aesthetic throughout the neighborhood. This makes the community more desirable. In theory, this keeps house values on the rise. They are often run by HOAs who may dictate for example:
Real Estate Zoning & Buying a Home
Zoning is a crucial part of the home buying decision. It influences both what you can do with the property and how well the property holds its value. For more home buying tips, follow our blog.
It’s not unusual for homebuyers to enter the market with some preconceived notions about the differences between an existing home and new construction. These may be formed by talking to friends and loved ones about their successes and challenges. Others come from media sources, including the seemingly endless stream of reality home shows.
Regardless of how your ideas have been formed, it’s in every buyer’s best interest to conduct some due diligence and explore the gaps between opinions, myths, and real estate facts. Weighing the following pros and cons of new construction may help you hone your understanding and make a truly informed decision.
1: Home Customization May Be An Option
It’s important to distinguish between two types of new construction. There is the type in which you work directly with a builder and architect to design a home unique to your standards and desires. There’s also the type in which the house is already built, and you would be the first occupant. The idea that buying new automatically delivers input into the design is only reserved for the former. If you want control from the drawing board to turning the key, that can certainly be achieved by enlisting an architect and construction outfit.
2: New Home Customization Can Be Expensive
While adding all the latest Smart technology and energy-efficient products can provide the quality of life you are pursuing, these items do come at a premium. Some estimates place Smart technology options at a 30- to 50-percent higher cost than conventional appliances and devices. New construction costs also hover at approximately $150 per square foot and can uptick considerably if you plan to integrate high-end materials or unique floor plans. Customization can certainly result in the dream home you imagine. However, there may be a nightmarish price tag included.
3: New Home Construction More Energy Efficient
Energy expert resources generally agree that new homes and those built after 2000, are widely more energy-efficient than those built in the 20th Century. New construction living spaces utilize and estimated 20 percent less energy, on average and new HVAC systems could outpace older homes by as much as 50 percent. That equals real dollars and cents savings on monthly utility bills and annual home expenses.
4: New Construction May Lack Quality Materials
It’s an open secret that the construction industry utilizes more inexpensively crafted materials than older homes. For example, many new construction homes present the image of hardwood flooring at first blush. But upon further review, the materials used are sometimes floating flooring or far thinner than yesteryear oak and other hardwoods. While new construction usually likes quite shiny, the materials to build it may lack the durability and luster of older existing homes.
5: New Construction Is A Double-Edged Landscaping Sword
Buying a newly constructed home often means that you will have pleasure — or chore — of designing the grounds as well. The upside usually involves planning your outdoor living space precisely the way you want it. Options such as stone patios, verandas, permanent outdoor cooking stations and garden placement, among others, are all on the table.
But the downside is that a new landscape will not necessarily enjoy the robust aged trees, large flowering shrubs and deeply rooted lawns of established grounds. That may seem like six-in-one-hand and a half-dozen in the other. Those are the little differences that you are tasked with weighing when making an informed decision between new construction and an existing home.
320 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead, MA 01945
Have you ever gone outside after a patch of cold weather to find long icicles hanging from your roof's edge? These spears of ice are usually caused by an ice dam forming along your eaves or roof's edge and can be dangerous when they melt and go flying to the ground.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a rim of ice that accumulates when snow melts on your roof and cools enough to turn to ice before it falls to the ground. The result is a heavy buildup of ice that can tear down your gutters and drain pipes as well as cause those huge (and dangerous) icicles. It can even cause water to back up and enter your home. Ice dams are usually the result of heat escaping from the top of your house due to poor insulation. Chimneys and exhaust vents on your roof can also contribute to causing ice dams.
Dealing with ice dams
To keep ice dams in check, it's important to keep the snow from building up on your roof. You can do this with a roof rake or a roof broom without having to climb up on the icy roof. For a long-term fix, it's also a good idea to inspect your roof's edge and the inside of your attic each fall and seal up any cracks or gaps where heated air can escape. In addition, you want to keep as much heated air in your living space as possible for energy efficiency as well as preventing ice dams. That means making sure that your ceiling is secure and insulated and that no air is passing between the two spaces.
If, despite your best efforts, you still have ice dams appearing at your roof's edge, it's best to call in the professionals. Walking around on an icy roof can be hazardous and is better left to those with special training and experience.
Want to buy a house for the first time? Create a budget, and you can move one step closer to transforming your homebuying dream into a reality.
Now, let's take a look at three budgeting tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.
1. Don't Wait to Start Saving for a Down Payment
In most instances, a down payment on a home ranges from 5 percent to 20 percent. With a large down payment, you may be able to reduce your monthly mortgage expenses.
A lender may be more willing to provide you with a favorable mortgage if you can afford an above-average down payment. This means if you have plenty of money for a down payment, you could save money over the life of your mortgage.
2. Take a Look at Your Outstanding Debt
Student loan charges, credit card bills and other outstanding debt may make it tough for you to get the financing that you need to buy a house. Fortunately, if you pay down your outstanding debt as much as possible, you can boost your chances of buying your dream house.
Evaluate your current spending and make cuts if possible. For example, if you dine out several times a week, it may be more cost-effective to buy groceries and cook your own meals. Then, you'll have extra money that you can use to pay off outstanding debt and save for a house.
3. Understand Your Credit Score
Do you know your credit score? If not, you may be missing out on opportunities to eliminate outstanding debt and increase your home savings.
You are eligible for a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can receive insights into your credit score.
If you obtain your free credit reports and find outstanding debt, you should try to pay off this debt sooner rather than later. Because the longer that you wait to pay off outstanding debt, the longer it may take you to acquire your ideal residence.
Furthermore, if you discover errors on a credit report, contact the reporting bureau immediately. This will enable you to fix any report errors before you get a mortgage.
If you need additional assistance as you map out a homebuying budget, it often pays to collaborate with a bank or credit union. In addition to providing you with multiple mortgage options, a lender will offer expert recommendations to help you budget for your first home purchase.
Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional is happy to help you get in touch with the best lenders in your area. And when you're ready to kick off your inaugural homebuying journey, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need, precisely when you need it.
Use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish an effective homebuying budget.