Are you considering the best use for a piece of property you own, or wondering if you can build 100 condos on a lot you're considering purchasing? Well, there are a variety of considerations you will want to take when determining what you can do with a given parcel of land. Land characteristics, zoning, and deed restrictions all influence what one may do with a piece of property.
First, you want to consider the physical attributes of the land. Look at the lot’s size and geographic position. Are there any natural elements influencing the way you can use the land? Is there a river running through the property, or a pond in the middle? Is the land incredibly sloped or is it located in the floodplain? How will one access the land? Does it have frontage on multiple streets or only a narrow entry as seen on a “flag lot”. You also want to think about the size of the lot, existing roads, and access to utilities.
Next, you want to consider how the property is zoned. If the property is located within the City of Austin, I go to their zoning profile report tool to get a fairly good estimate of how the property is zoned. You can then cross reference this data with the City of Austin’s permitted use chart to determine what uses are allowed for that zoning. However, if you find that the subject property is not zoned in a way that allows you to do what you would like, you are not necessarily out of luck. Zoning can be changed, and is easier to change if the proposed zoning change conforms with the existing characteristics of the neighborhood.
Another important component to consider are the deed restrictions for the property. Title can usually pull these records if you don’t have them already. If your property is located in an unincorporated area that is not subject to any municipal zoning regulations, you will want to start by analyzing the deed restrictions. Oftentimes, you will find deed restrictions that dictate the type of building materials that can be used on a property, the size of buildings, as well as the permitted uses for a given piece of land.
If you are considering buying a property and wondering if you can do what you want with it, give me a call today - I’d love to help you navigate this process. Similarly, if you are thinking of selling your property, it’s a good idea to know what development potential the property has. This will influence the asking price for the property and how one should best market the property.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.