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What You Should Know About Restrictive Covenants
Posted on Tue, 31 Jan 2017, 10:05:00 AM  in Home buying tips
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If you are considering buying a home in a planned subdivision, there is a good chance that you will become part of a homeowners’ association, commonly referred to as an HOA. One of the jobs of an HOA is to protect the property values within the community. One way an HOA does this is by requiring member homeowners to pay monthly, semi-annual, or yearly fees. These funds are used to maintain the common areas of the community. Another way is through a set of rules known as restrictive covenants that govern what homeowners in the community can and cannot do with their property.

 What You Should Know About Restrictive Covenants

Examples of Restrictive Covenants:

Restrictive covenants can vary widely between communities. These covenants can cover numerous issues, including

  • the colors that you can use to paint your home,
  • the type of landscaping that you can plant,
  • the size or breed of dog that you can own,
  • the type of window coverings allowed,
  • the number and type of vehicles that you can park on your property,
  • the height and type of fencing that you can install, and
  • whether you can install basketball hoops or other sporting equipment in your driveway.

A neighbourhood with an HOA that implements and enforces reasonable restrictive covenants will typically appear better maintained and see home values increase faster than a neighbourhood without an HOA.


Your Rights When Purchasing a Property in an HOA Community:

Once a seller accepts your offer, you are entitled to review the community’s covenants and by-laws. You should take advantage of this opportunity since you are expected to abide by the rules whether you have read them or not. If you find the terms unacceptable, you are normally entitled to back out of the contract without penalty within a certain number of days. Another option is to bring the issue to the attention of the HOA board to see if an exception can be made.


What Happens if You Violate an HOA Rule?

The consequences for violating a restrictive covenant vary from community to community. In most cases, you will be issued a warning advising you to remedy the situation. If you fail to do so, you may receive a fine.


The Benefits of an HOA:

While some homeowners are reluctant to be told what they can and cannot do with their property, an HOA does offer some significant benefits, including access to more recreational amenities and a better community aesthetic. You will also typically have fewer maintenance concerns in an HOA community since mowing, snow removal, and even trash service are often included in your dues.


Restrictive Covenants Can be Changed:

In most cases, restrictive covenants enacted by an HOA are reasonable and ensure that all residents of the community are able to enjoy their home and neighbourhood amenities to the fullest extent possible. Unfortunately, there are instances where HOA boards over-reach and tighten regulations to the point that they infringe on the rights of individual homeowners. In these instances, it is important to remember that restrictive covenants can be changed by a majority vote of the member homeowners.

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What to Consider before Buying a Condo
Posted on Tue, 15 Mar 2016, 08:40:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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Investing in a home, especially a condo is a terrifying proposition for most people. It is virgin ground for most people. There are things you may not be aware of when venturing into the condo market. It is advisable for prospective buyers to look into details of by-laws, rules and condo declaration documents with their lawyers. As a buyer, you should not go into a sale blindly but follow the following suggestions closely.

What should you Look to do before buying a condo?

1. Down Payment
Are you able to put down a down payment? It is the initial question you need to ask before deciding on this venture. Note that, the larger the amount you put up as a down payment, the less interest you will pay on your mortgage.

2. Mortgage
Reflect on what type of mortgage suits you. Consult your banker on eventualities like rising rates. Know the total cost of the loan. Some mortgage providers require mortgage loan insurance. Factor it in your monthly budget. If you want to pay less, make more frequent payment. You will enjoy smaller rates and your repayment period will be less.

3. Ask for the Condo Budget
Most buyers never think about it. Demand for one since most associations you are buying the condo from usually give the budget to the sellers, not the buyers. cndoSeek to find out if the budget has increased over the years and for what reason. Has it appreciated due to inflation or a ballooning cost of utilities? Another thing you should know about the budget is the total outstanding debt owed to the association and the number of owners not attending to their obligations.

4. Condo Fees
Ensure you learn everything that is there to know about the expected monthly costs. Condo fees include monthly fees. You may encounter condos with high monthly fees which may turn you off, but on the other side of the coin, it may indicate a well-maintained condo. Condo fees cover things like costs of operating swimming pools, security officers, gardens, and the concierge. 

5. Reserve Fund
Major repairs to the roof, heating, exterior of the building, plumbing and electrical need a designated fund. Part of the condo fees ends up in the reserve fund to cater for such repairs and maintenance. You may want to buy a resale condo: it is imperative you find out if the contingency fund exists and if it is adequate. 

6. Property Tax
When looking to own a condominium, be aware that you will have to pay property tax. The municipality in which you acquire the condo will advise you on how much they expect when you are buying a new condo. For a resale condo, the real estate agent has the obligation of providing the information. Ask for copies of recent taxation documents.

7. Utilities
Things like gas, electricity and water are not part of the condo fees. You will have to pay for them yourself. Find out how you are going to pay, either from the real estate agent or the municipality where you are buying the condo. You may also find out how to pay for the utilities from the cooperation which sells you the condo.

Never make a commitment to buy a condo without being absolutely sure what it is you will encounter. Get the facts right with these suggestions and you will never have to complain.


How May I Contact You?

Please ask me your question by filling out this form. You will receive an answer to your question at the first opportunity I have to reply. I appreciate the time you have taken.



Thank you for taking the time to complete this questionnaire.
I will be in touch with you.

       comment on this
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