If you’re giving thought to buying a home or making external renovations to your current home, you’ll want to become familiar with the term “deed restrictions.” It’s also called “restrictive covenants,” and the property does not have to be part of a homeowners association to be limited by a developer rule included in a deed.
It’s not a term most people are familiar with, but it’s something that can spring a nasty surprise on a homeowner looking to remodel—or someone looking to buy. In short, a deed restriction can limit a number of property features, such as the number of bedrooms in your home, the height of your building, the number of cars you can park in your driveway, whether fencing is permitted (important if you have a pet), and even the style and color of construction materials used in a renovation. If you’re planning to park your motor home, boat or motorcycle outside of your new home, beware. This is a topic frequently included in deed restrictions and covenants.
Lots in many neighborhoods have deed restrictions designed to prevent trees from being removed, in an effort to keep an environmentally friendly atmosphere or to preserve that tree-lined residential look.
So how do you know if the property is subject to a deed restriction or restrictive covenants? Such restrictions will turn up during a title search and with a careful reading of the current deed. Anyone who buys the property must abide by the restrictions, even if they were put in place on the land a century ago. Restrictions are known for being difficult to change, often taking a judicial ruling to invalidate them.
Buying the perfect home for you and your family takes more than just analyzing the house. And with the hot real estate market we’re experiencing here in the Front Range, it’s easy for anxious buyers to jump into a contract. But be smart: take the time to know what you’re buying—inside and out, and remember that this is just one area in which we can work together to ensure the perfect match for your needs.