3 Keys to Converting a Single-Family to a Commercial Property



Hopefully you’ve learned there are a lot of ways to make money in real estate! Forcing appreciation and “best use” are common terms. How do you make a property more valuable than it currently is? That’s the real question and there are a lot of ways to do it. One way is to change the “use” of the property. Below are 3 simple keys to evaluating a deal where you take a single-family residence and turn it into a small office space.

Obviously, there are a lot things to consider during the entire process, but these keys will help you evaluate the property to see if it will even work.

Key #1 – Zoning: This should make sense. You need to find a property that is in a zone that allows the conversion. You see things like “mixed use” or other classifications unique to the city. The best place to start looking is on wider, more congested streets where there are family residences or where you see these kinds of conversions already existing. This is usually due to the changing nature of that part of town. Many cities will re-zone those areas into mixed use to encourage a change in use. If you don’t’ have the right zoning, either you can’t do the deal or you’ll have to get the lot re-classified. While possible, it can be a much longer and expensive process but one worth looking into.

Key #2 – Parking: Assuming you have the right zoning, you may not have the right property. Commercial buildings mean that customer or employees will be coming to the building. That means more parking needs. In fact, your zoning laws will dictate how many parking stalls you will need. You can bet that the number will be bigger than what will fit in a standard driveway. For a 2000 square foot property, you could see up to 7 or 8 stalls needed. And remember, there are setbacks, turn around area and most likely even a handicap stall which is almost twice as big as a standard stall. The parking is often the one issue that will kill your conversion.

Key #3 – Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): All commercial buildings need to comply with commercial building codes, which includes making the property ADA compliant. First, you need to work with a commercial contractor. Don’t try to use your residential ones. That will cost you. Inside, it just means a lot of accommodations that are very different than a residence. But one big problem is that your entry need to accommodate a wheel chair ramp. Due to code requirements, these ramps can be very long depending on how high the entry door is. You’ll need to determine if there is space enough for this ramp, not to mention how it will look.

If you find a property where you can easily work with the above 3 keys, you are well on your way to doing a conversion. There is more you should consider and you may want to partner with someone with experience on your first deal or two.

For more information, please see my website link below!

Jeffrey S. Breglio, Esq.
Breglio Law Office and REI Mastery U
(801) 560-2180


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