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What is zoning?

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS FLIPRO?
Say you want to convert your garage to an apartment or build a structure on your property. Or maybe you have an ambitious project in mind, like buying a plot of land to construct a commercial storefront or a 30-story apartment building.    Can you do that? It depends on how the property is zoned.

Municipal zoning laws determine what can be built on each piece of property within the city limits. Zoning is the reason there’s not a goat farm adjacent to a downtown high-rise and why a dry cleaner can’t open next to a split-level in the suburbs.


The problem with zoning is that it’s complicated to understand, bureaucratic to navigate and fraught with terms like R3, RE11, C2 and MR1. Learning how a property is zoned is tricky to do on your own and expensive to hire a expert. 

Now there’s a better way: FliPro, a free online real estate development tool. With a few clicks you’ll cut through the maze of zoning regulations and be on your way toward launching your dream project.

Let’s break it down in a little more detail. Here’s the zoning how to guide.
OPTION 1: DIY ZONING
A TIME-CONSUMING, CONFUSING, FRUSTRATING EXERCISE 
Say you’re a DIY guy or gal and want to figure out the zoning regulations yourself. Here is how to do it: Find the “Zoning and Map Access System” link on the City of Los Angeles website. Enter your address, but be sure not to put in N, W, E, S or Blvd., St. or Ave. as these notations will confuse the site. Find your property and navigate through the “Planning and Zoning” tab to find your zone code. Next, go to the downloadable Los Angeles City Zoning Guide — 16 pages of graphs, charts and diagrams. Find the color coded table that gives you information on land use, setbacks, number of buildable units and parking. Did you write down your zoning code from the prior website? Look for it in the table on page 6 of the PDF, that discusses building height and floor area ratio. 

At this point you should have a good sense of the limits of your property — right? 

But you’re not done. The final important step is to go to the Department of Building and Safety in person. There are many factors not listed online that could prevent you from building your tiny house, apartment complex or storefront. Some of these obstacles include proximity to a fire hydrant, paved road access, slope, soil test, historic preservation and NIMBY groups.
Now you see why so many builders get tangled up in red tape and end up abandoning their dream projects.

   
OPTION 2: HIRE AN EXPERT
TOO PRICEY FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE NOT BIG-TIME PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPERS
Another possibility is to hire the services of a zoning company. They can evaluate your property and provide a due diligence report — but it will cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a single address. Sure, if your name is Broad or Getty, that might make sense. But what if you just want to convert your garage?

OPTION 3: FLIPRO
ZONING MADE EASY
Go to FliPro.com and search any address in Los Angeles. It will instantly show you a 3D structure of what the zoning laws allow to be built on that property. FliPro listings shows all properties for sale in the city on the map. Save your favorite properties and customized build outs into your FliPro portfolio to revisit later.

Considering a DIY apartment building project? The FliPro estimation tool allows you to calculate potential rental income and profitability should you choose to sell. The FliPro zoning tool allows you to search by number of units, profit and projected rental income.   

Search your current address, research a house before making an offer, search for a high-revenue project — easy zoning is just a click away!  

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