Total Attention Before Buying

One of the most important things is to truly understand the potential of the property that you are willing to buy, we already have shown in our post “How to make things happen” important steps to follow, so we will dive deeper into Ordinances today.

Guilherme Oliveira

10/20/20235 min read

Don’t Get Confused

We are primarily human beings, meaning it is innate to us to react to threats to survive, but our brains and bodies have adapted from our ancestors' past experiences over hundreds of thousands of years which made us get here! They are legit reactions and may save your life at any moment if dangerous situations happen, but for our current real life, 90%+ of our challenges won't need a safety reaction, because we are safe almost all the time.

Conclusions Are Not Final

For good or bad, laws are not straightforward, different interpretations may cross your way. I have done hundreds of public legal processes in real estate, in my country of origin Brazil, where I have worked as a licensed engineer for over 10 years and crossed a myriad of types of legislations and solutions that are crazy just to believe in it!

People - Not Precise by Need

As human beings, we tend to see the world based on our life experiences, and as much as we think people try to work by the book, it is not the case, even if you try to do so, because interpretations are necessary due to unclear or old existing laws.

Must Persist

At some point in my life, after encountering several roadblocks, I understood that people are the way to go, sometimes someone closes a door, but if I persisted more another person would open another one.

Attention to the Details

Always keep in mind that when we are talking about laws, details are important, as it varies a lot. You need to be aware that age, size, materials, height, flood zones, zonings, and maybe new projected roads or even projected floodways may stop or make you change your project, as the government has the right to lead on these decisions.

You can Not do as you Please

You should take into consideration that you will go over an approval, by the county, parish, city, or even the neighborhood that you are in (called subdivision/HOA restrictions), before buying you should find out every single aspect of it to make sure your future project is secure, not stopping you to do what needs to be done.


You must ask for help, because for a regular person, the task of finding out about ordinances may happen 1 or 2 times in their entire life, being understandable not being aware of everything. Call for help and professionals are the way to go.

Initial Steps - Gathering

Gathering as much information as you can, with everyone that crosses your way, including from the advertisement post, realtor, seller, maybe even the neighbor, ask about everything, zoning, restrictions, flood zone, utilities, etc, then write everything down keeping organized.


After the initial stage is done it is time to double check! Yep, do not believe anyone! I like to say I do not believe even myself, as I will double-check my own work anyway. You can start with the city or county/Parish where your property is located, and explain to the Permit section or planning department what you are willing to do.

Professional Help

If you are looking to build, mostly when you want a custom new home, a licensed professional will be needed, you can initiate this search by asking for a list of them from the county/parish or city, which they may have available, helping you to engage with a new company or person that will help you.

Align your Ideas with Professionals

Professional people in the business are the best ones to quickly advance you on your questions as they have lived several times every single year what you are looking to understand. Be upfront and as detailed as possible and they will guide you.

Not Everything will be Possible

Understanding the fact that not all our dreams will fit all properties, we can start choosing based on what can be done and achieved on the property in terms of building restrictions. For example: if you want to have chickens and horses, and the lot is within the city limits, there are big chances that it is not allowed.

I Can Do

Struggling in the beginning is normal, but you will quickly realize that every single city, county, or subdivision, has very similar verbiage, and after understanding it, will be easier to double-check everything.

What to Ask?

I will point out a few main things that you should know before buying:

  • Minimum area

  • Setbacks

  • Flood zone and possible restrictions (e.g.: need for a raised foundation)

  • Material restrictions

  • Manufactured homes - yes or not

  • Mobile homes - yes or not

  • Tiny homes - yes or no

  • City utilities are available or not? (water, sewer, power, and gas)
    Age restrictions (e.g.for mobile homes)

  • Activities (e.g.: for commercial)
    Historic areas


Organizing every single question and answer is your final goal, go over every single one of your requests and match them with your answers. If something is unclear, go over it again, it is never too late to ask again.

Do Not rely on Checking Neighbors

This is very important, many times we see the neighbors using mobile homes and we start to dream and believe that we will do the same! But you need to be aware that several times, ordinances change, and you may not be able to put your mobile home, even if every single lot in the neighborhood has one. Lesson: always check!

Short-Inspection Time

In cases where you loved the area and a special lot just popped up in a hot area, you may need to put in a deposit to not lose the property, in cases like this you must run and ask help from the professionals, they will be the only ones to quickly solve all your problems.