Most of us have seen a plat drawing like the one on the left. It is not a survey map, but usually a copy of what the county has on file in their offices. This particular map is my son's property. He owns all of lot 6, lot 5 and the south half of lot 4. In our area, that's quite a bit of land. Additionally the home is a legal duplex in a single family zoned neighborhood. This parcel is in one of St. Paul's higher demand neighborhoods just a few blocks (walking distance even for me) from the famous Como Lake and Park.
We knew from the beginning (I was his agent and did the research) that there was potential for splitting the property and having a buildable lot. During his ownership he has played in the big yard and enjoyed all the amenities it provided. Now the time has come to possibly move on. His agent (that's me) has counseled him to keep the duplex. He can rent it for far more than his current 15 year mortgage payments. He already has the "landlord" experience so keeping the duplex as non-owner occupied would be an easy transition. Sale of Lot 6 would produce sufficient funds for a downpayment on the next property.
The city planning department says the property meets the guidelines for a split. A buildable lot must have 6000 square feet and existing structures meet the set back requirements with the exception of the shed which can easily be moved. My son's agent keeps harping on building wealth. He's young. In 11 years he will have a minimum of $1200 net from the duplex. His goal is to retire in his 40's. Keeping the duplex will provide income toward that goal.
It's taken quite a bit of harping to convince him to keep the house. Once he got it, though, he thought he might be able to do something with Lot 4. What if the neighbor would sell the north half? Could we combine the two halves and have another buildable lot? Nope, it's not going to happen. The duplex is too close to the lot line. Moving the duplex would require too much financial outlay to make Lot 4 a profitable venture.
The next step? Applying for the split requires forms and a fee. Research has to be done regarding the tax values for the two separated parcels. The mortgage company has to be willing to release the land (his loan is only about 30% of the property value) from the mortgage. Then the lot will need to be priced and listed. The final and easy step will be finding a buyer to build on this new parcel.
Who ever said real estate is easy and anybody can do it? Not me!