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Switching a property from commercial to residential

Transforming a commercial property into a residential property can be a rewarding investment, taking advantage of prime locations within established areas and creating a unique-looking space.

However, not every commercial site can be transformed into residential housing.

Ray White City Residential Perth Director Brent Compton said commercial properties must first obtain council approval before converting to residential.

“Firstly check with the local council and the council of owners in the complex the property is in to see if they would be open to the premises being rezoned. One cannot occupy a commercial residence without the property being rezoned prior,” he said.

“Also it’s very important to know you can rezone and convert from commercial to residential prior to signing a contract otherwise you could end up with a property you can’t use the way you were hoping to.”

Once these properties are rezoned for residential use then the creative process of turning a business or office space into a home begins.

“Most commercial properties are set up for business and lack the correct floor plan, so working on a smart and efficient floor plan is important,” Mr Compton said. “Walls may need to be moved, and one thing that is also likely is an improvement of the bathroom and kitchen. These can be expensive, so prior to planning and building quotes are vital to any buyer considering this type of move.”

Mr Compton said the total price of converting could be tricky to estimate and depended on individual factors of the space. “My understanding is that most councils and stratas don’t charge too much to change zoning for properties,” he said. “The main cost would be the renovation costs. These can vary greatly depending on the property layout and size.

“Another thing to double check is the location of water, gas and electricity services in the property/building. The costs of conversion could blow out if these services are in tricky spots or affect other owners in the complex.”

According to Commercial Real Estate, offices, shops and warehouses all have the potential to be turned into fun, contemporary living spaces. They can offer character and features which newer homes can’t.

Mr Compton agreed, saying Perth should be making the switch more often.

“Commercial to residential conversions are not that common in Perth, however I have often thought there should be more,” he said.

“Some locations and general sizes of commercial properties lend themselves to become amazing places to live if all the approvals can be organised, along with clever and tasteful renovations.”

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