Zoning regulations and urban planning laws govern how a piece of property can be used. Most properties will be zoned for either residential use or commercial use, but there are typically dozens or even hundreds of types of zone within those two categories. Examples of different residential zones might include a zone for single-family homes with less than 2,000 square feet of living space, a zone for larger single-family homes, a zone for multi-family buildings with two to four units, and a zone for multi-family buildings with more than four units. Before buying a piece of property, you should check the local zoning laws to ensure the property can be used in the manner you intend to use it. Zoning attorneys and real estate lawyers can help you understand your city's zoning ordinances and work with you to obtain a zoning variance, if necessary. It's particularly important to check the zoning laws if you are buying a parcel of undeveloped property, if you plan to tear down the existing structure and build something new, or if you're buying or leasing property for commercial purposes.