Frederick, Home Buyer in Philadlephia, PA

Can you convert a commercial property into a residential property?

Asked by Frederick, Philadlephia, PA Sun Oct 12, 2008

Are there any restrictions in the City of Philadelphia that prohibit the conversion of a commercially zoned property to a residential living space?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi, Frederick,

In most cases, the city will not care if you use a commercially zoned property as a residence. Most of the zoning codes allow for more than one use.

The problem will come with financing. Typically, if a property is zoned commercial, you have to get a commercial loan. That would mean a higher interest rate and more money down. You will also pay higher appraisal fees for your loan because a commercial appraiser has to do the assignment.

The appraiser would have to find other properties with commercial zoning that have sold and then prove that the residential use did not negatively impact the value. Years ago, I sold a residential home on a street that had a commercial zoning. It was very tough but we did get it done because there were homes on most of the street, but the street was located in the commercial zone in Warminster.

Unless you think you would have some future commercial use for this property, it would be much easier to go out and find a residentially zoned property if you only want to use it for a residence.

Good luck. You can contact me if you have any other specific questions.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 12, 2008
Looking to convert a building we already own from commercial to residential as it is now we have two apts above. We would be turning the downstairs into a large apt since we cannot sell the building and no one wants to rent as a commmericial space. This is in Buchanan ny upstate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2015
Depending on the current zoning, this might require a variance. Some variances are more difficult to obtain in the City of Philadelphia. In most cases like this where you are "down zoning" it is easier to get the requisite approvals then when you are "up zoning" as would be the case when you are converting a residential property into a commercial use. If a variance is required, community support from the local community groups is crucial to success in obtaining the variance from the ZBA. I would be happy to provide a high level analysis of the property if you were to email me the property address. My law firm offers free initial consultations.

Stuart Udis, Esq.

PA Realty Law, LLC
Office: (267) 273-1779
6139 Germantown Ave, Suite 202B
Philadelphia PA 19144
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 11, 2015
Can I get a residential mortgage on a property and then convert it to commercial if I decide to live there? This is in Houston Texas.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 18, 2015
Can I convert a commercial property into a residential property in San antonio Texas ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 31, 2015
It is rare for a commercial property to revert back to a residential. the city garners more taxes from commercial while spending less resources then in a residential property. You should check the wording of the zoning regulation to see if you can use it without doing anything. your short term goals need to be weighed against you long term goals as commercial is usualy worth more than residential.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 14, 2008
I think they main question I would have before answering this, is why? What is your goal with this conversion?

Would appreciate hearing back from you. Thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 14, 2008
I have a commercial property in the western suburbs. Before 2014, no one was interested in renting my class B offices. However, I received a great number of calls when I advertised the space for residential use. The spaces have small kitchens and full baths. I needed to do this to fill my vacanicies so I can pay my taxes.
Flag Wed Jan 28, 2015
Carol is correct in saying that it will be harder and more expensive to get financing when you purchase the property, but it will also be harder to sell for the same reasons. i wish you the best of luck!

Michael D Delp
Mortgage Pro
4802 Old Bethlehem Pike,
Telford Pa. 18969
Ph- 215-453-1025
Fax- 215-453-1012
Cell- 610-762-0318
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 13, 2008
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