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Common Issues When Buying a Home to Remodel – Part II

February 7, 2010

While the specifics of the home you are buying will determine your remodeling plans, certain improvement projects have historically provided high ROI’s, or Returns On Investment. According to Remodeling Magazine, improving the quality of a kitchen—whether upgrading appliances, changing the layout, counters and cabinetry, or simply painting and swapping out drawer pulls—provides the highest ROI of any remodel project. Also, remodeling or adding a bathroom is a proven way to increase house value.  

Before you purchase a house with the intention of remodeling and raising the property’s value, be sure to investigate the zoning restrictions and environmental regulations. Most homes come with zoning restrictions, including pre-determined setbacks from property lines, limits on roof height, etc.

If the home is on a historic register, regulations will likely be even more stringent in order to preserve the property’s historic character. If the home you are buying is in an environmentally sensitive area—adjacent to wetlands or protected open space, for example—or contains a significant natural resource—additional regulations may limit your remodel plans. Such regulations can impact building size, paving, grading soil, removal of trees and native plants.

Your attorney can help you determine zoning and environmental regulations, and determine if you have the correct permits to begin any home improvement project. In most parts of the world, a permit is required before you make structural changes to your home. In our area of Pennsylvania, these are most often obtained from the local township.  The building permit and associated inspections and approvals can provide assurance that the remodeling project meets local building codes and safety regulations. If you live in a historic district this process may also provide assurance that exterior changes to your home are in keeping with neighborhood guidelines.

Lastly, before buying a home that requires remodeling, be aware that some problems simply can’t be fixed. Whether the desired improvement is prohibited by local regulations, or can’t be completed within your budget or timeframe, it’s important to recognize the limitations of your home’s potential.

As your Realtor®, I can help you navigate the zoning and permitting process and determine which remodeling efforts will give you the most return on your investment – contact me today!


Patty Cunningham, Realtor®
Coldwell Banker Preferred
390 Waterloo Blvd, Suite 101
Exton, PA 19341
O. 610.363.6006
F. 484.356.0540
C. 610.659.4669 
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Oh, by the way…  I’m never too busy for one of your referrals!  

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