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Top Zoning Issues When Selecting Commercial Property

Keep these common issues in mind when searching for business space

If you’re looking to purchase or lease space for your business, there are a host of hoops you must jump through to secure land. Proper zoning is one of them; and it’s extremely important for selecting and protecting your business’s location. Despite this importance, some owners blindly purchase or lease property without first doing their homework. In order to avoid potential trouble down the road, it’s essential to review zoning guidelines and restrictions before settling on a space that is right for you.

What is zoning?

Zoning is simply the regulation of private land by public authorities. It allows municipalities to create uniformity in certain neighborhoods by controlling how you can use property and what can (and cannot) be built in a given area.

Common zoning provisions

There are a variety of zoning categories, including:

  • Residential, such as single-family housing units and apartment complexes
  • Commercial is commonly intended for single businesses and multi-business complexes located in or near a residential area
  • Industrial is set aside for larger corporations, manufacturing sites, factories, and companies, among other large-scale commodities
  • Recreational includes parks, athletic facilities, and fields
  • Agricultural covers rural property, fields, forests, farmlands, and similar tracts of land

These categories are often further broken down into subcategories. Each may come with its own set of restrictions, such as:

  • A required distance between buildings in the allocated zone
  • Building size and height
  • Specific areas of the lot that can be built up
  • Types of buildings that are permitted on a certain plot of land

Examples of common zoning disputes

While zoning disputes can occur between two private individuals, more often they occur between a local government and business. Disputes that could affect a business might include:

  • Building height: If not followed properly, height restrictions in both commercial and industrial areas have the potential to create safety issues.
  • Parking lot issues: Disputes may arise surrounding the size or creation of parking lots. For example, parking cars at a business or facility could disrupt the ability of nearby residents to enjoy local areas.
  • Setback issues: ‘Setback’ refers to the minimum distance a building can be located from a property line. Some requirements ensure businesses and homeowners do not build structures that impede property lines or look unsightly.
  • Signs: Another common zoning issue involves the size and placement of signs. A sign that is too large or placed too close to a busy road could cause a cluttered appearance, as well as a safety hazard.

How to determine potential zoning issues prior to purchasing commercial property?

If you’re in the market for commercial or industrial space, it’s imperative that you’re crystal clear on the zoning of the area. Commercial and industrial zoning restrictions are some of the most stringent, and it’s therefore important to work with a reputable commercial real estate broker that has experience navigating local ordinances.

Reach out to Morris Southeast Group for zoning questions in Palm Beach, Miami Dade, and Broward Counties

With several decades of experience representing business owners in South Florida, Morris Southeast Group is expertly positioned to find the perfect space for your company. Our team is well versed in all complex zoning restrictions throughout the area. Give us a call at 954.474.4776, reach Ken Morris on his cell at 954.240.4400, or email kenmorris@morrissegroup.com today.

Peak Performance for Broward Country's Office Market

Broward County’s office market continues to heat up like the South Florida summer, with decreasing vacancies and increasing rental rates. Broward County’s office sector performance is a big story in an area of very positive commercial real estate headlines. It can be argued that South Florida trails only the two Bay Area bellwethers, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, in property performance nationwide.  Office rental rates in the county — CoStar reported that the market’s average rate increased 1.4 percent during first quarter to $25.14 per square foot — are most likely reaching the top of the arc in the present economic cycle.

Broward County’s office market vacancy decreased 20 basis points to 11.3 percent during first quarter on the strength of more than 401,000 square feet in net absorption. Comcast’s 70,000-square-foot lease at Miramar Centre Business Park, Building 3, in the Southwest Broward submarket was the largest tenant signing of the opening quarter, followed by Nuance Communications’ 17,523-square-foot deal at Sawgrass Lake Center in the Sawgrass Park submarket and American Resource Management Group’s 13,205-square-foot lease at 1401 Building in the Cypress Creek area. Lack of new office development in Broward County, fueled by the overall office space consolidation trend and the high price of real estate in South Florida, constitutes a major factor in the sector’s advancement.


Read full article here.


This is a summary of the article “Broward County’s Office Sector is Operating At Peak Performance”, which originally appeared in SouthEast Real Estate Business, July 2016.

3 Title Defects to Dodge When Purchasing Commercial Real Estate

Keep these title issues in mind when searching for a commercial property

So you’ve been searching for months to find the perfect space for your business, and you think you’ve found it. Time for a celebration, right? Well, not necessarily. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a defective title, which can cause significant problems down the road.

What is a defective title?

A defective, or unmarketable title occurs when there is a serious omission, error, or other complication related to the ownership of a piece of property. A title defect can significantly impede your ability to purchase or resell your property, and banks will often refuse to provide financing for commercial real estate that has a defective title.

Title defects to keep in mind

The following are just a few of the types of title defects that you can run into when purchasing property. Be sure to work with a reputable and experienced commercial real estate agent throughout the entire buying process to ensure that your best interests are protected.

Unreleased Liens

A land record search can unearth information about any existing liens that may be present on a property. A title search should be able to identify any loans that should be paid, satisfied, and released prior to purchase. Examples of liens that a title search should disclose include:

  • Tax liens – If a property owner owes the IRS, or has not paid necessary property taxes, state and federal authorities can actually place a lien on a property that must be settled prior to it being sold to another party.
  • Judgement liens – If a creditor wins a lawsuit against a property owner for monetary damages, a lien is often placed on a debtor’s property, which must be settled prior to the property being sold.
  • Mortgages – A mortgage is the most common lien found during a title search. While this mortgage may not be binding on you personally as the buyer, it likely would be binding on the property you are purchasing, and can therefore be foreclosed if not settled before you take ownership.

The seller doesn’t actually own the property

In certain scenarios, the person whom you’re buying from may not actually own the title to that particular property. So-called property owners should not be considered owners without a thorough examination of estate and will records, which should also be part of a title search. Tracking down heirs can be time consuming, but it’s necessary in certain scenarios to ensure that a commercial property is free and clear of any title defects at closing.

Missing or incorrect property information

Incorrect property records can further complicate a real estate transaction, because a title search may not discover these items. Title insurance should be purchased to protect buyers against these types of defects.

Be extremely careful when purchasing real estate

It can be very easy to get caught up in the emotion of a seemingly-perfect property when looking for commercial real estate. But you should never forget to do your due diligence on important aspects of the transaction, including a thorough title search.

If you’re interested in purchasing commercial property in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, or surrounding counties, partnering with Morris Southeast Group can help make the entire process go smoothly. With decades of experience matching business owners with the right commercial property, we are ready to help you find your next location today. Give our team a call at 954.474.4776, reach Ken Morris on his cell at 954.240.4400, or email kenmorris@morrissegroup.com to get started.


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