Craig Della Penna, Realtor® | Northampton Real Estate, Amherst Real Estate, Florence Real Estate


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A neighborhood is a neighborhood. And a business district is a business district, right? Unfortunately, it's not so cut and dry. There are actually nine major zoning types in most areas. And these can impact things like home use, home value, and property taxes. Zoning can change over time.

Let's explore the five you're most likely to encounter. 

1. Commercial

Generally, this property is intended exclusively for money-making purposes.

Commercial zoning has several sub-categories that may define how the land can be used. This varies by city but may include:

  • Office space
  • Shopping 
  • Night club
  • Hotel
  • Apartments
  • Certain commercial buildings may have added restrictions such as distance from a school or residential area. As a home-buyer, it's important to consider how commercial property near you is zoned. For example, if an apartment complex may go up in that vacant lot down the street someday, this may impact whether you want to move here now.

    2. Residential

    Residential zoning can include a wide variety of housing types:

  • Single-family
  • Duplexes
  • In-law units
  • Garage apartment rentals
  • Trailer parks
  • Condos
  • Tiny homes
  • Home-based businesses
  • Whether these are allowed depends on local and community codes. For example, many city ordinances may state that mobile homes are not permitted in city limits. This may impact tiny houses as well.

    Residential zoning typically prohibits "farm animals". So building a barn or keeping a cow in the back yard may be against the law. What is permitted may impact the community and home values change over time. So it's vital to consider.

    3. Rural

    Rural zones cover land outside a metropolitan area or in between towns. People of this property often have more control over what they do with their land. They'll typically pay less for land in these areas as well as fewer taxes. That also means that homes may appreciate less in these areas.

    But keep in mind, if rural land is close to city limits, it may become residential at some point. This may increase your home value because you now have access to city services. But you'll also see property taxes rise.

    4. Historic

    When cities want to maintain the charm of an older part of town, they may classify it as historic. If you move here, you will have to comply with rules intended to keep an original style. But as a trade-off, you may be entitled to grants and federal tax credits. If well-maintained, a historic home can be an exciting place to live.

    5. Aesthetic 

    Aesthetic districts are designed to maintain a unified aesthetic throughout the neighborhood. This makes the community more desirable. In theory, this keeps house values on the rise. They are often run by HOAs who may dictate for example:

  • Outside paint colors
  • Types of shrubs
  • Fencing
  • Mailbox style
  • Real Estate Zoning & Buying a Home

    Zoning is a crucial part of the home buying decision. It influences both what you can do with the property and how well the property holds its value. For more home buying tips, follow our blog.


    Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.

    Some of the most common homebuying fears include:

    1. I will pay too much for a house.

    Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.

    If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.

    Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.

    An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.

    2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.

    If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.

    Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.

    A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.

    Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.

    3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.

    What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.

    A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.

    For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.

    Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.


    Before you embark on a search for your dream house, it helps to know what to expect during the homebuying journey. If you understand the true cost of purchasing a home, you can map out your property buying strategy accordingly.

    Now, let's take a look at three factors that may impact how much you spend to acquire your ideal residence.

    1. The Price of a Home

    The initial asking price for a house is not necessarily set in stone. In some instances, you may be able to negotiate with a seller and receive a lower price.

    However, regardless of the price you negotiate with a seller, you are responsible for paying for a residence. And if you fail to receive a mortgage, you may struggle to make your homeownership dream come true.

    It often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. Pre-approval for a mortgage also may enable you to speed up your home search and ensure you can quickly discover a residence that falls within your price range.

    2. Closing Costs and Other Homebuying Fees

    After a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her home, there may be various fees that you'll need to pay to finalize your house purchase.

    For instance, a buyer who conducts a home inspection will need to pay for this evaluation. He or she likely will need to pay for an appraisal and any closing costs as well.

    As you get ready to pursue a house, you may want to put aside extra funds for any potential costs you may encounter throughout the homebuying cycle. Because if you have the necessary funds at your disposal, you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

    3. Moving Expenses

    After you buy a home, you will need to relocate all of your belongings to your new address. To do so, you probably will require moving boxes and packing supplies to ensure your personal belongings can safely reach your new house. As such, you should account for these expenses prior to starting a house search.

    Of course, you may want to hire a moving company too. If you want to find out what it costs to hire professional movers, you may want to receive quotes from multiple local moving companies sooner rather than later.

    If you need help getting ready to search for a home, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. A real estate agent can offer lots of insights into the potential costs you may encounter at each stage of the property buying journey. In addition, a real estate agent will help you narrow your search for your dream house, conduct home showings and much more.

    Start planning for potential costs associated with the homebuying journey – you'll be glad you did. If you budget for the property buying journey, you could increase the likelihood of enjoying a quick, stress-free homebuying experience.


    Ready to buy a condo? With help from an expert real estate agent, you can make your condo ownership dreams come true.

    An expert real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can purchase a top-notch condo at an unbeatable price. In addition, this real estate professional will make it easy to discover a superior condo without delay.

    Ultimately, an expert real estate agent can make a world of difference during a condo search. But it is important to note that there are many factors to consider as you evaluate a real estate agentl.

    Key factors that a condo buyer should consider when he or she assesses a real estate agent include:

    1. Industry Experience

    How many years has a real estate agent worked with condo buyers? Has a real estate agent been successful in his or her efforts to help condo buyers? And how will this housing market professional handle difficult negotiations with a condo seller? These are some of the questions to consider as you examine a real estate agent's industry experience.

    When it comes to assessing a real estate agent, industry experience is key. A real estate professional who understands the ins and outs of buying a condo should have no trouble helping you purchase a superb property that matches or exceeds your expectations.

    2. Communication Skills

    How a real estate agent communicates with his or her clients says a lot about this professional.

    If a real estate agent strives to stay in touch with clients via text, phone and email, this housing market professional likely will be able to keep a condo buyer informed at each stage of the property buying cycle.

    On the other hand, a real estate agent who fails to prioritize effective communication may struggle to help a condo buyer. This housing market professional may be unavailable if a condo buyer has concerns or questions. As a result, a condo buyer is unlikely to get the support that he or she needs to make an informed property buying decision.

    Meeting directly with a real estate agent can give you a better idea about his or her communication skills. If you feel comfortable with a real estate agent after a face-to-face discussion, you may want to consider moving forward with this housing market professional.

    3. Client Referrals

    What are previous condo buyers saying about a real estate agent? Request client referrals from a real estate agent, and you can find out how he or she has supported condo buyers in the past.

    Client referrals enable you to understand what it's like to work with a real estate agent and can provide you with insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Moreover, client referrals can help you accelerate the process of choosing the right real estate agent to guide you along the condo buying journey.

    For condo buyers, there is no need to worry as you prepare to enter the housing market. Instead, use these tips, and you can find a first-rate real estate agent who will ensure you can purchase your dream condo.


    A diligent homebuyer understands what it takes to shop for a residence. As such, this individual may be better equipped than others to discover a house that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

    Ultimately, there are many reasons to become a diligent homebuyer, including:

    1. You can boost your chances of acquiring a top-notch residence.

    Buying a home can be a long, complex process, particularly for those who lack housing market insights. Fortunately, it is easy for any homebuyer to become a diligent homebuyer, thanks in large part to the wealth of housing market data that is available.

    A diligent homebuyer can analyze the prices of recently sold houses, along with the prices of homes that are currently for sale. By doing so, a diligent homebuyer can understand whether he or she is shopping in a buyer's or seller's market. This homebuyer also may be able to narrow his or her home search.

    For those who want to acquire a first-rate residence, diligence is paramount. And as a diligent homebuyer, you may be able to identify many opportunities to purchase a deluxe residence.

    2. You could save money on a home purchase.

    When it comes to shopping for a home, there is no need to overspend, regardless of whether you're searching for a residence in a buyer's or seller's market.

    Meanwhile, a diligent homebuyer is a thrifty home shopper who understands how to save money on a house.

    A diligent homebuyer, for example, may be more likely than others to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This homebuyer will meet with a variety of lenders and learn about all of his or her mortgage options. That way, a diligent homebuyer can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and avoid the temptation to overspend.

    Furthermore, a diligent homebuyer knows how to stay calm, cool and collected in stressful price negotiations with a property seller. This homebuyer will possess the housing market insights to make an informed purchase decision. In addition, he or she will have the confidence to walk away from a potential home sale if price negotiations get out of hand.

    3. You can accelerate the homebuying process.

    Although a diligent homebuyer analyzes real estate market patterns and trends closely, he or she usually realizes that navigating the housing sector alone can be tough. Thus, a diligent homebuyer may reach out to a real estate agent for extra help.

    A real estate agent can provide even a diligent homebuyer with the necessary assistance to speed up the homebuying cycle. This housing market professional can help a homebuyer understand and overcome assorted property buying hurdles. Plus, he or she can offer expert insights into the housing market that a homebuyer may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

    If you plan to purchase a house in the near future, it definitely pays to become a diligent homebuyer. This property buyer will be able to browse a broad array of high-quality houses, assess these residences effectively and seamlessly move through the process of acquiring the perfect home at the lowest price.




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