Real Estate Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions
Did you know that when you purchase a home in a neighborhood with Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs) you are agreeing to abide by those regulations?
A Home Owners Association (HOA), which you may be required to join and which typically have association dues, is often the “governor and judge” of these regulations.
CC&Rs are generally put in place by the developer of a neighborhood with the goal of keeping the neighborhood looking nice over time by creating restrictions on what homeowners can and cannot do with his or her own property.
Often there are telltale signs of a neighborhood with enforced CC&Rs. For instance, the lawns are typically more uniformly manicured, homes tend to have only a few color schemes that don’t include say purple or pink, and often there is an absence of parked cars on the street or in the front yards.
With CC&R's - VS - Without CC&Rs
CC&Rs, in general, work for the good of the neighborhood, but they may not be viewed as “good” by some homeowners.
A couple of recent examples in our business come to mind:
** The first example is one involving fences. The neighborhood CC&Rs state that fences must be of a certain height, a certain style, and a particular type of wood. In addition, the fences must be stained and there are only two choices of stain color. Failure to build or stain the fence correctly can result in fines and enforcement of a “do-over.”
** The second example is one involving pets. The buyers have four dogs and the neighborhood has CC&RS, but there is no active HOA to enforce those regulations. It states in the CC&Rs that owners can have no more than two dogs. This is a tough spot for both buyers and agents. What to do?
CC&Rs will also sometimes enforce lawn watering, mowing, weeding, the color of house paint, and what plants and trees may be planted in the front yard.
Neighborhoods with CC&Rs typically have a certain symmetry
In our neighborhood, for example, we must have at least 40% lawn in the front yard, it must be green and weed free. In addition, if we have any trees greater than 6 inches in diameter we must get permission to take them out.
Some CC&Rs will not allow you to rent your home – it must be owner occupied. Other CC&Rs will not allow you to run a business out of your home. Some may not allow over night street parking by visitors or owners.
Buyers beware, or better yet, be informed!
The bottom line is that it’s a good idea to know if the neighborhood you are interested in has CC&Rs and if there is an active HOA enforcing those regulations. Know if the regulations are something you can live with. Understand how those regulations are enforced.
HOAs are powerful “mini-government” entities that can bring lawsuits and liens against a person’s property if the rules are not followed, or if fines and/or dues are not paid.
If you need assistance determining whether or not a particular neighborhood has CC&Rs or you need help deciphering those regulations, we are happy to assist you wherever possible, just shoot us an email!
Another topic that you may be interested in learning more about is Real Estate Trends and Lifecycles of Neighborhoods – check it out!
To see what’s happening in a neighborhood you are interested in, visit our Market Insider page.
For a list of communities we serve, have a look at our communities served page.
Ready to go visit some neighborhoods?
Ron and Sherry Patterson
AKA: RonnieTheRealtor and Sherry Too!