[Springfield, Ill. – September 20, 2012] The Capital Area Association of REALTORS (CAAR) wishes to alert condominium property owners of an important zoning change in the Village of Chatham.
Last year, the Capital Area Association of REALTORS began working with officials in the Village of Chatham to modify the zoning regulations to enable owners of two-unit condominiums to make a change to their zoning classification, known as “zero lot line”, that will benefit them later when it comes time to sell or refinance their home.
What is zero-lot-line? Duplexes can vary in the way in which they are zoned. They can be classified as individual parcels that share a common wall (what is known as a zero lot line), or in some cases duplexes can be zoned as a condominium consisting of two units. With many changes in the lending environment, conventional financing is becoming more difficult to secure and this change has led to an increase in the usage of FHA loan products. In many cases under FHA programs the rules for single family, and the rules for condominiums, can differ significantly.
Zero lot line is essentially an imaginary line drawn through the center of a shared wall, as well as a dividing line that separates a duplex lot into two separate parcels. It also provides for a waiver of interior, side lot setback requirements. Due to the nature of a shared wall (or party wall), the setback from the lot line would be zero.
By dividing the parcel at the zero lot line, the duplex lot is split into two parcels of land (with separate tax id numbers), in contrast to condominium zoning in which the entire duplex lot is considered common area. Dividing the lot into separate parcels allows homeowners more flexibility in financing, and more certainty as to the property they actually own. CAAR applauds village officials who, on February 28th of this year, adopted a zoning change that will enable many of these property owners to change their zoning classification to what is known as zero lot line.
The association has developed an informational postcard and is mailing it to approximately 300 affected households. The postcard explains the importance of this issue and also outlines seven distinct steps that are needed to convert a duplex from condominium zoning to zero lot line zoning. These steps generally involve an agreement by both parties to move forward, a party wall agreement, removal of the properties from their classification as condominiums, quit claim deed, new survey, title search and recording of the new parcel.
According to Todd Musso, CAAR president, “we are encouraging all owners of two-unit condominiums in Chatham to explore this option now so that, down the road, if they go to sell or refinance their property this will reduce the number of obstacles.” The process could take anywhere from four to six weeks to complete and there are some expenses involved which Musso estimates to be anywhere from $1,000-$1,500 per unit owner. Interested homeowners are encouraged to contact their local REALTOR who can guide them through the process.
The Capital Area Association of REALTORS® is the Voice for Real Estate in the Capital Area representing nearly 700 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. The Capital Area’s Resource for Real Estate Information can be found at www.SeeHouses.com.