Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan
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Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan
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Everything You Need to Know About Restrictive Covenants in Real Estate

Location, size, amenities...these are simply a few of the things that you should consider when you're in the market for a new home. But there's one aspect of home buying that often gets overlooked: restrictive covenants.

Limitations on Home Color

One of the most common restrictive covenants you'll see in a CC&R is a limitation on home color. HOAs can be very picky about paint color, and most paint limitations specify a list of acceptable home colors and ban all others. So if you're looking at a home with a covenant on paint colors, assume your design choices will only be between neutral shades.

Rent and Lease Restrictions

Many HOAs severely limit your ability to rent or lease out your home. You may only be able to rent out your home for a few months of the year, or you may not be able to rent your home out at all. If you were planning on renting your new property, this is the first thing you'll want to rule out in your CC&R.

Restrictions on Business Usage

Seeing as self-employment and the work-from-home lifestyle has become increasingly popular, be cautious of any restrictions on business usage in your CC&R. Many covenants prohibit operating a business out of your home. It most likely doesn't concern self-employed homeowners. Most HOAs won't care if you turn your spare bedroom into a home office, but anything that causes an increase in traffic for your neighbors may set off red flags.

Limitations on Permissible Pets

Some HOAs place limitations on the types of pets you can have on your property. Your CC&R can also put limits on the size of your pets. For example, your HOA could tell you that you can only own a small or medium-sized dog. Your HOA can also put restrictions on the breed of dog you may own. Many covenants ban breeds of dog that some people believe to be more aggressive, like pit bulls and German Shepherds.

The CC&R may also place strict limits on commercial breeding. You might be able to have a pet but you usually can't breed or sell animals from your residential property under most covenants. Most covenants also ban rearing livestock or owning farm animals as pets.

Requirements for Exterior Maintenance

Your CC&R will likely lay out what type of maintenance you need to perform on your property. You may need to mow your lawn every so often, remove holiday lights after a certain date, or only place your trash outside on trash day. The HOA will make sure the exterior of your property is up to code if you live in a development that provides exterior maintenance.

Restrictions on Exterior Constructions

Finally, CC&Rs may include restrictions on modifications and buildings you make on your property. You may not be able to build a shed, fence, or detached garage without first getting the design approved from the HOA. Some CC&Rs even ban additional construction altogether. This means that if you're thinking about doing any kind of home renovation or addition, you'll need to check with your HOA first to make sure it's allowed.

It's important to keep in mind that these are just a few examples of the types of restrictive covenants you might see in a CC&R. The specific covenants for a property can vary widely, so it's important to thoroughly review the CC&R before purchasing a property.

So why are restrictive covenants important for homeowners to understand? Well, for one thing, they can impact your ability to make changes or modifications to your property. If you're thinking about painting your house a different color, adding a fence, or renting out your home, you'll need to check with your HOA first to make sure it's allowed.

Violating a restrictive covenant can also result in fines or penalties. It's important to understand the specifics of your particular restrictive covenants before making any changes or modifications to your property.

In conclusion, restrictive covenants are a crucial aspect of homeownership that often get overlooked. They can impact everything from the color of your house to your ability to rent out your home. It's important for homeowners to thoroughly review the CC&R before purchasing a property and to understand the specifics of their particular restrictive covenants. So next time you're in the market for a new home, don't forget to take restrictive covenants into consideration.

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