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Due to rising home prices and limited access to buying a house, many people are considering other options. One of the most used is to convert a local into a house. Before transforming one property into another, however, it is important to know what the previous legal steps are, and whether or not a building permit is required.

To modify the original use of a property, premises, or dwelling to another use compatible with those permitted by the urbanity norms and ordinances of the city where you are located, since for this type of change it is usually necessary to request a license of change of use for its authorization.

The most common changes in these cases usually change from commercial premises to first-floor housing, changes from housing to office, changes from garage to commercial premises, and vice versa.

Some investors visualize profits by acquiring commercial premises to make modifications to them so that they can be used for residential purposes. Below, we will explain the process to follow to achieve the change without problems, we are experts in building permits and we can help you.

Pros and cons of converting a commercial space into a home

Among the main benefits of converting commercial premises into housing, we can highlight the following:


  • Commercial premises may be more affordable in central locations than housing in principle.
  • It is possible to have access to large spaces with high possibilities for renovation.
  • In general, they are spaces with direct access to the street, making them ideal for the elderly or those with reduced mobility.

About the disadvantages, it is important to mention that:

  • The process can take some time.
  • Sometimes major renovations are required based on the location.
  • Renovations are often necessary to improve lighting and ventilation, which are usually scarce in the premises.

Steps to follow and documentation to get a building permit

For the U.S. authorities to approve your application, you must have a project designed by an architect. Not every property can be suitable for use as a dwelling. This study is also useful for detecting potential risks when remodeling the building. The housing inspectors can do this work.

Once you have this study, you will request the conversion to residential use before the Board of Permits and Inspections or before the Construction and Zoning Board.

  • Plans of the remodeling that you intend to carry out.
  • The plans of the current property without remodeling.
  • The study is issued by the architect with a license that allows knowing if the commercial premises can be transformed into housing. This must include the risks that exist when carrying out repairs and reconstructions.
  • Printed application for the change from commercial premises to a dwelling.
  • The budget of materials that you will use in the work.
  • Payment of the fees to obtain the permit.

Requirements to get a building permit

A building permit expert is best suited to handle all the paperwork for you, so the first thing to do is fill out the form you can obtain at the Board of Permits and Inspections’ offices with the above documents.

For a property to be converted from a commercial space to a dwelling, it has to meet structural and technical requirements.

Homes must meet certain minimum room sizes. The location of kitchens and fireplaces must not pose a risk to families. This is verified by the visit of the officials and the architect’s opinion.

Before any change or remodeling, you need approval, so you must wait the time it takes the institution, which is why it is always best to opt for companies like ours, specialists in acquiring building permits and thus have total security that you can get your process.

Why you should not convert commercial space into your home?

Although the theory is easy, in practice there are several issues to consider before putting this alternative into practice. Premises per se cannot be considered a habitable place. A mortgage will also be less expensive when applying for a mortgage due to the lower valuation of the premises.