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"You're Going to Butt Heads with the Zoning Board."

Don't expect an agent, unless they are your friend or otherwise a true ally, to warn you about zoning pains that await you if you buy this property. If you have your heart set on making changes to the place, do your homework carefully and master the zoning maze yourself (or pay a lawyer to untangle the red tape). Anything from a riverside dock or new addition, to a tree house or even a fence, could be governed by conservation easements, right-of-way stipulations or other zoning regulations. That expression, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," does not apply here, unless you are exceedingly flexible.

"Beware of the real estate agent who says, 'You can do anything you want to this place, all it takes is money," says Delaware County, New York, broker Ron Guichard. Municipal authorities and homeowners associations are the places to start to get the information you need.
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