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 Adding Square Footage

Adding square footage can add value to a property, especially if the square footage added is relevant for the market's needs. For instance, adding a separate home office may be viewed as a great option for many, now that working from home is more common. 

So how does zoning and adding square footage work?

First, adding on will likely mean applying for a zoning permit. To find out if a permit is needed, contact the city planning department and ask about a list of "projects allowed without permit" which often include painting, maintenance items and certain items like patios or low walls. The list is not always very extensive. The reason being the city wants to review the plan and give - or deny - approval.

Some properties have large untapped potential due to the existing structure size being much smaller than what the zoning would support. If that is your case, applying for a zoning permit is likely going to be relatively easy (minus the amount of plans/support/sign offs etc). The point is, the property has rights and you, as the owner, are trying to convert those into new square footage.

On the other hand, there properties that may not have that option. The reason is the existing structure is already "at or near the max" per the zoning.

Remember, to get an accurate assessment, you'll need to have details not provided in a Zonability Report. Often, having an expert in land use is needed (think of an architect, engineer or some combination).