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Dividing Property Into Multiple Lots


By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A home owner with five acres of land wants to divide and sell the land. Ilyce and Sam explain the lengthy process of subdividing your land.

Q: Our house is on five acres of land. We'd like to sell some of it by dividing it into two or three lots. What are the steps I need to take to do this?

A. Ah, a short question with a really long answer. Well, let's get started.

The first thing you need to do is find out is the zoning classification for your property. You need to determine the minimum lot size requirements and other restrictions for your property. Your city or village hall should be able to assist you in determining the zoning classification and other zoning requirements for your land.
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If your property meets all the requirements under the applicable zoning code to enable you to subdivide, you then will need to find out if there are any subdivision ordinances that affect your property.

Frequently, municipalities have subdivision ordinances that guide or restrict property owners from subdividing their land.

Even if the zoning code permits smaller lots and you otherwise could subdivide your land, a subdivision ordinance may make it impossible for you to do so. The ordinance, for example, may require that smaller lots conform to certain minimum size requirements or have a particular amount of frontage onto city streets. In some cases, new streets and utilities would have to be installed prior to the sale of a lot within the new subdivision.

If you qualify to subdivide your lot under both the zoning and subdivision ordinances, there may be other hurdles to jump over before you can subdivide. Some of these requirements might involve how water flows from the property you intend to subdivide to other neighboring properties, along with storm drainage requirements.

If you pass all these tests, the next step you'd have to take, at a minimum, would be to hire a surveyor to create a subdivision plat for the lots you intend to create.

You should probably talk to your local building and zoning department and ask someone to walk you through the process. Then, call a few surveyors (your local building or zoning department may be able to tell you who's used frequently in your area) to find out the costs.

Finally, you'll want to talk with a local attorney who handles zoning and land use matters to help you through the process. Good luck.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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