Can your buyer Airbnb that house? Redfin’s new zoning details provide answers
In an effort to increase data transparency, the brokerage’s search portal now offers land-use and zoning data on 70 million homes.
- Agents can use the additional property information to better inform their buyers.
- The new details can answer questions about what can be built in the backyard and whether the house can be rented out.
- Building accessory dwelling units has become popular in recent years as home affordability issues linger.
Buyers seeking information about city or county zoning rules often have to wade through complex local government bureaucracies, but Redfin is aiming to change that.
The company announced that it added zoning and land use information to more than 70 million home description pages on its website for properties in the U.S. and Canada. This provides useful information for potential homebuyers who might be wondering if they can build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the property or use it as a vacation rental.
Redfin partnered with Zoneomics, a technology company specializing in zoning and land-use data, to improve transparency for buyers. Prospective buyers who want more detailed information and zoning reports can order them through Zoneomics.
"Zoning is a defining characteristic of real estate in North America. It impacts everyone, and you shouldn't need special research skills to find the information you need," said Christian Taubman, Redfin's chief growth officer in a news release. "Redfin users ask us every day whether a property can be rented out on Airbnb or whether building another living unit in the backyard is allowed, and now they can find answers directly on our home detail pages."
With home affordability remaining an issue throughout most of the country, more cities have taken steps to relax rules around building ADUs. Although they don't make a significant contribution to overall inventory, ADUs tend to have smaller impacts on a neighborhood than other types of multifamily building projects.
There isn't a uniform set of rules in place, so regulations around ADUs vary from state to state and city to city. In areas that have eased the way for ADUs, such as Oregon and California, the units have become increasingly popular. About 100,000 ADUs are being added across the U.S. each year, and they can increase a home's value by 35% in some cities, according to a 2021 study by Porch.com.
There are an estimated 1.5 million ADUs in the United States, which is around 2% of all homes in the country. At 12.7%, Los Angeles had by far the highest percentage of ADUs among big cities, followed by Portland, Oregon, at 3.9%, according to the study.
Zoning details can provide other information that may impact potential buyers' decisions about a property, such as whether it's permissible to do business out of a garage or have backyard chickens or goats on the property.
The addition of zoning and land-use data is just Redfin's most recent effort to provide buyers with a broader range of details about a home. Earlier this year, Redfin added information about climate risk, school ratings, neighborhood amenities, public transit, internet service and speed, and down payment assistance programs to its home detail pages.