Taking Your Business Home: Three Things to Consider When Operating a Business on a Residential Property

Magazine_Street_Saint_Patricks_HouseA walk down Magazine Street will reveal the trend among business owners to turn historic residential properties into charming, eclectic office spaces for their businesses. Whether business owners are looking to start a new company from their own home or to move their existing business into a residential property, there are a few things to know before transforming a residential property into the home for a business.

Get Through the Red Tape

Zoning laws, codes, and other red tape can literally stop a renovation project in its tracks. Failing to abide by a single one of the city’s ordinances could put a company out of business permanently or temporarily. For example, buildings in residentially zoned properties cannot be used for commercial purposes without special permits. Additionally, some residential properties may need to undergo a thorough home renovation to be in compliance with the city’s commercial building and fire codes. Owners should brush up on these codes to be sure their business will be in compliance. This can avoid wasting time or money on a residential location that may not work.

Prepare For Resistance

Often, people aren’t thrilled about new businesses starting in their neighborhood because they worry about an increase in traffic or crime. For that reason, it’s important for business owners to be prepared for resistance from the neighbors or homeowners’ association. Many towns and HOAs offer special exemptions and variances to allow businesses to operate in residential areas if residents won’t be impacted. Business owners can prepare for this potential resistance by understanding their options and developing a plan.

Allow Time for Renovations

Both owners of existing businesses moving into residential properties and owners of new businesses starting out of the home will likely need to undertake at least minor home renovation projects. From expanding the parking lot to improving the facility’s accessibility, there is a lot to be done to prepare a residential property for commercial use. As with any residential or commercial remodeling project, it’s important to allot enough time and money to tackle potential unforeseen issues.

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