Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

monica belet…, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Does anyone have advice on finding an unusual building to live in like a firehouse or church to convert into a home? thanks

Asked by monica beletsky, Los Angeles, CA Sat Jun 30, 2012

(in Los Angeles, the west side or downtown)

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Monica:

These types of properties are usually listed on commercial property websites as 'special purpose' buildings.

If you are planning to buy a special purpose property and convert it to a home, a key factor is what the current zoning permits. If the building has residential zoning, there is usually no problem. If it has commercial or mixed-use zoning, you may have to obtain a live-work permit or a conditional use permit. These permits can add significantly to your costs for aquisition and property renovation.

I have worked with a number of individuals and groups who are into adaptive re-use for sustainability. Most recently, I represented the Los Angeles Bicycle Kitchen in its acquisition of a stand alone bakery building in Hollywood which they converted into a community bicycle education and repair center.

Please feel free to contact me directly if I can be of further assistance.


Meredith McKenzie
Associate Broker #01142186
Keller Williams Realty
1660 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

323-230-9749 - Cell
323-300-1110 - Direct
323-300-1001 - Fax

2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 30, 2012
Gosh, matbe you might want to talk to someone who does that for a living.

Maybe, I don't know, how about a Realtor?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 30, 2012
Dear Monica,
There are "special purpose" properties for sale all over Los Angeles, however,the zoning for these will often not permit them to be used as residences. Be very careful who you work with on this, so that you are not getting..a firehouse..let's say..that you have no hope of living in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
This is a great opportunity to convert a building to a residence when it otherwise served a different purpose. There are some but not many in the Los Angeles area, be advised that if you need financing for this purchase it may be viewed as a commercial property and subject to a higher down payment, like 30% or more.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
Hi Monica,
I got listings all over for unusual home conversions. Feel free to call me anytime.


Neal Grusky
DRE# 01890580
Hpremiere Properties
Real Estate and Financing
10940 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1600,
LA, CA 90024 | Office:
(800) 652-1768
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
Where are these listings?? I just tried to look them up and can't find them on the MLS or Loop Net.
Flag Wed Jul 4, 2012
Looking for this type of property is one of the more fun aspects of being a realtor in Los Angeles. Definitely go on Loopnet but if you see a building you like ask your agent to contact the owner. You never know...

Please feel free to contact us if you need help.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 30, 2012
What price range are you looking for the property? If you go on http://www.loopnet.com you can search yourself. I would love the opportunity to help you. I have always loved the idea of converting a church or fire station into a home for myself so this would be awesome to be a part of helping you find a property to convert. I will live vicuriously through you :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 30, 2012
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