Most prolific businesses have humble beginnings. If you have a small business idea that’s worth exploring, you should consider working from home. Of course, depending on your business, your home may not be able to accommodate your venture now or in the future, which means finding a new home that accommodates your personal and professional needs.
Before you start looking for your new home, you need to have a solid business plan and a preferred business structure. The majority of home-based businesses operate as either limited liability companies (LLCs) or sole proprietorships. Some of the main benefits of a Massachusetts LLC are protection against liability for your personal assets, lower taxes, and flexibility in management. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
When it comes to buying a new home and launching a business at the same time, there’s a lot to consider. Boston real estate expert Julian Addy invites you to explore some of the legalities that apply to your home-based business.
Review Your Local Zoning Laws
Most localities impose zoning laws to regulate activities in different sections of a town, city, or state. It's essential to determine whether your home-based business in the new location complies with the existing local zoning regulations.
The new neighborhood may have restrictions to ensure residential purposes only or may not allow the type of home-based business you’re in. There may be other sections allocated under local zoning laws for business purposes outside of the new neighborhood.
If the local zoning laws do not allow your type of home-based business, contact your local zoning authority to establish whether you'll be able to obtain a zoning waiver. The waiver will enable you to operate your home-based business legally.
Check Your Deed or Lease Restrictions
Besides the local zoning laws, the residents in the new neighborhood may have other concerns. For instance, they may get worried that your home-based business will:
Create additional traffic and noise
Increase parking problems
Use inappropriate signage and advertising strategies
Have distractive lighting
In some neighborhoods, local authorities may have implemented other deed covenants to regulate home-based businesses.
If you are renting a property, the lease may have limitations on home-based businesses to protect the other tenants. In such a case, find out whether you can apply for permission to operate your home-based business from the neighborhood association.
Seek Proper Permits for Your Commercial Sign
A commercial sign can help to guide potential customers and the general public to your home-based business.
Before purchasing a sign, find out the permits and rules applicable to commercial signs in the new neighborhood. You may require to apply for and get an appropriate license in some areas before putting up a commercial sign.
This permit may also define additional limitations, like the sign's size, positioning, wording, materials, and lighting. Contact the local zoning authority for such rules and regulations on signage.
Obtain A General Business License
Despite the type of home-based business you have, most cities and counties need all new companies to obtain a kind of general business license.
If your business involves selling goods or services from your home, the general business license gets represented by a reseller or tax certificate.
The general business license will allow you to legally carry out commercial activities in the town, city, or county. Visit the local tax collector's office to get more information about business licenses and tax certificates.
Starting a home-based business is quite the challenge, especially if you combine a move with your launch. To ensure a smoother transition, use the above tips to guide you along the way. And when it’s time to begin your house hunt, connect with real estate pro Julian Addy to find the perfect Boston home.