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Being "Grandfathered"? It's a Good Thing in Real Estate

You may know the phrase “Grandfathered” from the recent short-run TV sitcom, but for years the term has been given to real estate properties that wouldn’t, under current regulations, be allowed to be constructed upon. In many (but not all) cases that can be a good thing when a property comes up for sale. For example, in the case of waterfront real estate, many restrictions have been imposed on new construction dealing with setbacks, site clearing and size of structure, sometimes to the point of making a previously designed building site unbuildable under the new guidelines.

The term “knockdown” is also one for the real estate dictionary. Due to a unique location, such as on a lake, pond, river, or even a main street, it can be more attractive to buy an existing “nonconforming” structure and knock down all but one wall, and then rebuild using modern techniques. Some locations, with buildings that are connected to town water and sewer and offer a very desirable site location, offer a buyer the added attraction of avoiding Tap Fees as well as new municipal connection charges.

The lesson here is that when given the opportunity to buy existing vs. building brand new, it may make sense to consider updating the old instead of building brand new.

For more information, “Ask the Expert”, Steve Loynd, Managing Broker, Alpine Lakes Real Estate, Lincoln office:, (603) 381-7898