How can I find out if a certain business commercial property can be used for another type of business with that property BEFORE putting in an offer?

Asked by Phong Lam, Philadelphia, PA Wed Jan 11, 2012

Dear Fellow Agents or whoever is knowledgeable in this field,

I have a client who is looking to buy a corner commercial property that is currently a clothing store and was wondering how can they go about finding out if the property CAN or CANNOT be converted into a nail salon business after obtaining the property?

Can this information be found on the Internet or how can they go about finding out more information on the zoning conversion/commercial usage on a specific property if it qualifies or not BEFORE putting in an offer for the property?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Phong Lam

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Web reference:


Larry Lichtm…, Agent, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Wed Jan 11, 2012
Hi Phong,

You can go to and research the address. The zoning map will tell you if business use is permissible. If it is, you just file a use registration permit at L& I and go from there. Certainly put a zoning contingency in your agreement of Sale.

All the best,
2 votes
Hannah Angert, Agent, PHILADELPHIA, PA
Wed Jan 11, 2012
P.S. Your issue here is not zoning but USE. If the building is R10A or any R the owner would need to apply for a use variance, but if the building is C1 or C2 a nail salon should be allowed as-of-right. Why not ask Seller produce approval for use as a nail salon part of the agreement of sale?
0 votes
Hannah Angert, Agent, PHILADELPHIA, PA
Wed Jan 11, 2012

I hope this link works, ALL of the info you need is here. If the link doesn't work google "", select BUSINESS, then LOCATION & ZONING. The information there is available in several languages, which I've found especially helpful. Good luck.

Hannah Angert, Realtor
(215) 869-9571

William Festa Realty
3001 S. Sydenham St.
Philadelphia PA 19145

(215) 271-3000 phone
(215) 271-0988 fax
0 votes
Bruce Lang, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Wed Jan 11, 2012
You can discuss with licenses and inspections @ the annex. You can also call a zoning atty.
0 votes
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