I am interested in purchasing a large R1 lot in Torrance, CA. The property is zoned R1. It has 1 1400 sq ft home and 1 700 sq ft home. The status is legal non conforming. Lot size is 17.4k sq ft; average R1 lot size is 5k-6k sq ft in the neighborhood. The parcel is bordered by streets on both its north and south border. All parcels on that block are split as 2 R1 lots just as I am proposing. I want to purchase the property and remodel/expand the larger home to 2500 sq ft and demo the small home and build a 2500 sq ft home. I can only build/remodel if I get approval for subdivision.

If I cannot get the subdivision approved the property will not fit my needs and I will lose significantly. I can submit a prelim plan review and get a sense of any issues but I still am at the mercy of planning commission and any potential neighbor complaints at the hearing.

Any recommendations on how to proceed? I'd like to make this deal happen while limiting my risk to an acceptable level. It makes me nervous to purchase the property before getting approval but I may not have an alternative. I have considered offering full asking and requesting for a long escrow period such that escrow doesn't close until I have received approval from the planning commission. I'm not sure the sellers will go for that though.