Ask Margaret: how can I convert residential property into commercial property?

Ask Margaret: how can I convert residential property into commercial property?
Ask Margaret: how can I convert residential property into commercial property?

Hi Margaret,  

I would like to ask you how one can go about converting residential property into commercial property such as a medical centre.  

What are the pros and cons of doing that?

Thanking you.

Regards,

Opinder


Hi Opinder,

The answer to this question may vary a little from state to state – each state has their own department of planning and, sadly, not all states are on the same page with the same rules.  

Having said that, and generally speaking, the ability to convert a standard residential property into a commercial property is going to depend upon the current zoning.  Note that this is different from electing to run a home business from a residential property – in some councils that may also need some kind of approval, however the purpose of such a venture does not specifically change the purpose for the building itself.

Where you wish to turn a house into a doctor’s surgery or some other business, the zoning must be appropriate for the new use.  This is because there are many considerations to make: – will there be sufficient parking so that the neighbours properties aren’t affected by cars in the street? Will the business affect the peaceful habitation of homes in the area? Will the presence of customers have any kind of impact which may be detrimental to the area? and so forth.  

In some cases there may already be a commercial zoning or a ‘mixed business’ zoning in place, and in these cases often doctors’ surgeries and the like are allowed.  However, where the zoning is purely residential, then the intended use will either be not allowed, or you will have to apply to council for a change in zoning.  

In these circumstances it’s often better to engage a town planner to assist you with the application.  The money you spend on such a professional will most likely save you countless hours of your time.  The town planner can usually give you a good indication of your chances of success before you incur much time, or spend much money.

Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popularProperty Success With Margaret Lomas and heads up the panel onYour Money, Your Call, both on Sky News. She is the founder of Destiny.

Have a property question? Ask Margaret!

Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popular Property Success With Margaret Lomas and Your Money, Your Call, both on Sky News. She is the founder of Destiny.

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