Multiple Homes: Everything you need to know about SB9 Lot-Splits in California

Last Updated: March 27th, 2024

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Welcome to the world of home renovations and building in sunny California!

If you’ve heard about Senate Bill 9 (SB9) and are curious about how it could affect your property, you’re in the right place.

Since January 2022, SB9 has been making waves by allowing homeowners to split their lots and potentially build more homes.

This is big news, especially in a state where finding affordable housing feels like searching for a needle in a haystack.

At FTR Renovation & Build, we’re excited about what SB9 means for homeowners like you.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about lot-splitting: what SB9 is, how to do it, the benefits, and a few things to watch out for.

Plus, we’ll share some real stories from people who’ve successfully split their lots to inspire you.

Think of this as your friendly guide to lot-splitting, designed to help you understand your options without getting bogged down in too much jargon.

Whether you’re looking to build your dream home, expand your living space, or just explore new investment opportunities, we’re here to help you navigate the ins and outs of SB9.

Let’s dive in and discover how you can make the most of your property in California!

The Process of Lot-Splitting Under SB9: Step-by-Step Guide and Requirements

Thinking about splitting your lot in California? Thanks to Senate Bill 9 (SB9), it’s now more straightforward than ever.

But, like any good recipe, it’s all about following the steps to get the best results. Here’s your easy-to-follow guide on how to split your lot under SB9, peppered with tips to keep you on the right track:

  • Check Eligibility:
    • Your property must be in a residential zone.
    • SB9 doesn’t apply in historic districts, farmland, or hazard areas.
    • Tip: Use your city’s zoning map online to see if your property qualifies.
  • Understand the Requirements:
    • You can split your property into two lots.
    • Each new lot must be at least 1,200 square feet.
    • Tip: Smaller lots? Consider other development options under SB9.
  • Prepare Your Application:
    • Collect required documents: property deed, site plan, and preliminary designs for the new homes.
    • Tip: Hiring a professional surveyor or architect can save time and headaches.
  • Submit to Your Local Planning Department:
    • Each city might have its own application process.
    • Expect fees for processing, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
    • Tip: Stay in touch with the planning department for updates and feedback.
  • Review and Approval:
    • Your city has 60 days to approve or deny a straightforward split or 90 days if you’re proposing construction.
    • Tip: Engage with your neighbors early. Support can smooth the process.
  • Complete Any Required Improvements:
    • Infrastructure improvements like sidewalks or utilities may be needed.
    • Tip: Budget for these upfront to avoid surprises.
  • Finalize the Split:
    • Once approved, you’ll need to record the new lot lines with the county.
    • Tip: Double-check all documentation for accuracy before submission.

Key Considerations:

  • You can’t sell a split lot separately within 3 years if using SB9 for a housing project.
  • Owner occupancy may be required for one of the units for a minimum of 3 years.
  • The new development should respect local building codes, including setbacks and height restrictions.

Last Thoughts:

Splitting your lot under SB9 can be a fantastic way to maximize your property’s potential, whether you’re looking to build a new home for your family, create rental units, or sell for a profit.

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination.

Take your time, do your research, and don’t be afraid to seek professional advice. With a little patience and the right approach, you can navigate the lot-splitting process successfully. Happy building!

Potential Benefits and Considerations of Lot-Splits Using SB9

Embarking on a lot-splitting adventure under Senate Bill 9 (SB9) can be like finding a new path in your backyard that leads to exciting opportunities. However, every path has its twists and turns, and it’s wise to look at both the sunny spots and the shadows.

Let’s explore the benefits and considerations of lot splits to help you navigate your journey:

Advantages of Lot-Splitting:

  • Increased Property Value: By splitting your lot and adding additional housing, you’re not just creating new living spaces; you’re potentially boosting your property’s market value. More homes on a single plot can appeal to investors and families alike.
  • Rental Income: Building a new unit on a split lot opens the door to rental opportunities. This can be a steady source of income, helping with mortgage payments or funding your next vacation.
  • Meeting Housing Demand: California’s housing crisis is no secret. By adding more homes, you’re contributing to the solution, helping to meet the growing demand for places to live.
  • Flexibility for Families: A split lot can provide space for a granny flat or an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), perfect for extended family or as a guest house.

Considerations of Lot-Splitting:

  • Upfront Costs: The initial outlay for splitting a lot and developing it can be significant. Think about surveying, planning, construction, and possible infrastructure upgrades.
  • Regulatory Hurdles: Navigating the approval process can be complex and time-consuming. Each jurisdiction has its own rules, which can affect your project’s timeline and budget.
  • Impact on Neighborhood Character: Adding more homes to a lot can change the look and feel of your neighborhood. This might not sit well with everyone, potentially leading to objections or resistance.
  • Financial Risk: Like any investment, there’s no guarantee of a return. Market fluctuations, unexpected construction costs, or delays can impact the financial viability of your project.
  • Living in a Construction Zone: If you plan to stay on your property during the split and construction, prepare for noise, dust, and general disruption.

Financial Implications of Dividing Land:

  • Cost vs. Benefit: Crunch the numbers carefully. Consider the potential increase in property value and rental income against the costs of splitting and developing the lot.
  • Financing: Explore your options for funding the project. Traditional mortgages, construction loans, or home equity lines of credit might be avenues to investigate.
  • Tax Implications: Consult with a tax advisor. Understand how the development might affect your property taxes and what implications it has for capital gains tax if you sell.

Wrapping Up:

Lot-splitting under SB9 can offer a unique chance to maximize your property’s potential, whether you’re eyeing financial gains, looking to contribute to easing the housing shortage, or needing more space for your family.

However, it’s crucial to enter the process with open eyes, aware of both the opportunities and challenges. With careful planning and consideration, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and circumstances.

Case Studies: Real-Life Examples of Successful Lot-Splits in California under SB9

Let’s make this simple and a bit more fun! Imagine taking one big piece of pie and making it into three smaller, but equally delicious pieces.

That’s kind of what happened with a lot-split project in California under SB9, and it turned out to be a win-win for everyone involved.

Before: You’ve got this big yard with just one house sitting in it. It’s nice, but it feels like there’s so much more that could be done with all that space.

After: Fast forward, and now that same lot is home to three modern, energy-efficient houses. Each one is designed with cool features like solar panels and rainwater collection systems. Plus, there’s a community garden where neighbors can grow their veggies. It’s like turning an empty field into a vibrant mini-neighborhood!

Here’s a Fun Fact: In areas where SB9 projects have taken off, housing availability has been boosted of up to 10%! That’s a lot of new homes where there used to be just one.

So, what do we get from this? More homes mean more options for people looking for a place to live, and it’s all about using space wisely. Plus, with all the green tech going into these new homes, we’re talking about a win for the environment too.

Take a look at this picture showing a before and after of a lot split. It’s pretty amazing to see the transformation, right?

Thinking about splitting your lot? It’s not just about building more homes; it’s about creating communities and making the most out of the space we have. Who knew a little bit of division could bring us all a bit closer together?

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Legal Aspects and Restrictions to be Aware of When Considering a Lot-Split under SB9

Let’s chat about what this journey looks like, legally speaking, without getting lost in the legal jargon. Imagine we’re mapping out a treasure hunt where the treasure is your successful lot-split.

First Up, Zoning Laws

Think of zoning laws like the rules of a board game. Your property needs to be in a zone that’s game for residential development. Not all areas are eligible, especially unique spots like historic districts or farms.

A quick tip: A peek at your city’s zoning map or a chat with city planners can save you heaps of time.

Plotting Your Lot-Split

With SB9, you’re looking to split your property in two—no more, no less. It’s like cutting a cake: each piece needs to be fair, at least 1,200 square feet to be exact.

Also, each new lot can host up to two units, but remember, there are rules about how tall these units can be and where they can sit on the property. We’re aiming for harmony, not a hodgepodge.

The Paperwork Journey

Ah, paperwork, everyone’s favorite. You’ll need to navigate through a sea of documents, including filing new deeds that show how your lot is now split.

It’s a bit like updating your adventure log; it needs to reflect where you’ve been and where you’re heading.

Getting the Neighbors Onboard

Imagine you’re throwing a block party, and you want everyone to come. Chatting with your neighbors about your plans can make the journey smoother.

While SB9 limits how much local governments can interfere, a little neighborly diplomacy can go a long way, especially if your new designs need to fit in with the local vibe.

Dropping Anchor: Living There and Renting Out

Here’s a twist: If you’re building new digs, you might have to commit to living in one of the units for a bit, usually around three years. It’s like the law’s way of saying, “If you’re going to build it, be part of it.” Planning to rent? Make sure you’re up to speed on the latest in rent control and tenant rights.

So, What’s Next?

Diving into a lot-split under SB9 is like setting sail on a grand adventure. There are maps to follow (zoning laws) and treasures to find (successfully split lots).

It’s all about knowing the lay of the land, being prepared with your paperwork, and navigating the local currents with finesse.

Remember, while the legal stuff might seem daunting, it’s just a set of guidelines to help you reach your destination.

With a bit of planning and some friendly expert advice (like from yours truly), you’ll be on your way to making the most out of your property. Ready to set sail? Let’s navigate these waters together!