FAQ #8 for Buyers: What are Restrictive Covenants?

By
Real Estate Agent with Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group S44645

This is a question that typically comes up as we are searching for homes.  Sometimes it is discussed in the initial home buyer consultation particularly if there is a need for the ability to store a boat, camper, or trailer on the property, if they need to have fencing, or if they have a number of pets. 

What are Restrictive Covenants? 

Restrictive Covenants are the rules associated with the development and use of the property.  These are recorded at the time that the subdivision plat is approved. 

Some things that are addressed in restrictive covenants:

The minimum size of the improvements, meaning that a builder cannot build a McMansion or a shack in the middle of a development of 1400 sq. ft. houses.

The setbacks for the houses to be placed on the lots including placement in proximity to the lot lines.

The restriction of livestock or other household pets.  This is where restrictive covenants can cause an issue.  Some developments have a restriction of 1 dog.  If you have 2 dogs, do you really want to live in this development?  In essence, a crabby neighbor can enforce the covenants if you have more dogs than it says.  Especially if the dogs are disturbing their quiet enjoyment of their property.

Restrictions on fencing.  Most restrictive covenants simply have a minimum of a vinyl coated chain link fence.  Local building codes may make additional restrictions on corner lots for privacy fencing.

Restrictions on trailers, additional vehicles or recreation vehicles.  Let's face it, you may have a nice boat with a nice cover or a camper, but most of the time these covenants are in place to keep your neighborhood looking nice.  No one wants to see your car on blocks stored under a blue tarp all year round.

These are just a few of the examples...there are many others.  The restrictive covenants typically run with the property for 20-25 years and then are automatically extended in 10 year increments after that.  If you have a concern, you should always make reviewing and accepting these restrictive covenants within 3 days of acceptance a contingency of the purchase agreement. 

When I show a home to a buyer, I have already researched and have a copy with me of the restrictive covenants in case they like a home enough to make an offer.  That way, we do not have to wait for the listing agent to get them to us.  It is helpful to know this before you see a home that may otherwise be perfect for you and your family.

Call me at 319-521-0701 or visit my website at www.KarenFeltman.com today to schedule your free home buyer consultation! 

Keep smiling!

Karen

 

 

 

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Karen Feltman, REALTOR®, ABR, AHS, CHMS,                                                                      CNE,CRS, e-Pro, green, GRI, SRES, TRC

Keller Williams Legacy Group

4850 Armar Drive SE Ste B

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403

Email: karenfeltman@gmail.com

Mobile  319-521-0701

www.KarenFeltman.com

Licensed in the State of Iowa

© 2010-2018 by Karen Feltman, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Relocation Specialist 

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Rainmaker
537,603
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI RE Adventures

Karen, nice post on this subject.  Restrictive Covenants can have all kinds of things in them, I have seen many weird things with this over the last few years.

Jan 12, 2011 01:50 AM #1
Rainer
209,593
Dennis Duvernay Broker/Owner
Hillview Realty - Northbridge, MA

Karen, a very concise explanation....most new developments have covenants and buyers need to know this....

Jan 12, 2011 01:55 AM #2
Ambassador
337,220
Melissa McKinney
McKinney Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Realtor, www.LivingFayetteville.com

Karen~ That is a great run down for your clients! With your knowledge you certain are the person to go to in Cedar Rapids!

Jan 12, 2011 02:08 AM #3
Rainmaker
528,812
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
@Bob-I have not seen anything too weird other than a development that did not allow fences at all. Should have known when we were driving through and there were no fences OR dogs. I guess if you like your neighbors it would be okay!
Jan 12, 2011 02:28 AM #4
Rainmaker
528,812
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
@Dennis-You are right about that! New construction you definitely need to make sure you can live with their restrictions if you want to build there. @Melissa-Thanks for reading!
Jan 12, 2011 02:32 AM #5
Rainmaker
601,332
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Karen - Informative post.  Had to LOL about the dog restrictions.  The development that hubby and I live in has a three dog minimum (Simi Valley is very dog friendly w/their own beautiful dog park) but when the neighbors across the street started fostering a sick dog, one of the other neighbors complained about it to the HOA because the dog neighbors already had three dogs.  SERIOUSLY!!!

The dog neighbor explained to the HOA that they were just fostering the dog for a few weeks while the dog recuperated from a surgery and could be adopted out.  The HOA allowed it, which, of course, pissed off the dog hater other neighbor.

Jan 12, 2011 07:11 AM #6
Rainmaker
528,812
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

@Donne-I always think that some people just have nothing better to do!  On the other hand, I would not want a puppy mill next door to me either, but it seems reasonable in that particular case with the sick one.  Thank you for reading!

Jan 12, 2011 07:16 AM #7
Rainmaker
601,332
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Karen - LOL  I certainly see your point about the puppy mill.  Altough it does really drive home the point about the importance for prospective buyers to actually review the HOA CCR's because, as you pointed out, this is where things like pet restrictions are laid out.  If you know that the HOA allows three pets per household and you don't like dogs, you may want to reconsider that particular development. 

I remember the day that hubby and I first visited our home many years ago before deciding to buy it.  When we drove up to the house, there were kids and dogs all over the block (it was a weekend) and parents were all standing around talking to each other.  When hubby and I got out of our car, people waived and said "hello" to us while dogs came over to check us out. 

As long time pet owners with three fur babies of our own, we loved our first impression of the street.  Many years later, our neighbors are one of the best things about our street.  We definitely have more pet owners on our street than non-pet owners and perhaps the non-pet owners should have really thought about that more before buying their home.  JMHO  Different strokes for different folks.

Jan 12, 2011 07:47 AM #8
Ambassador
877,246
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Karen, very well put. I just went over this with a buyer yesterday.

Jan 13, 2011 01:30 AM #9
Rainmaker
528,812
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

@Donne-You are right, that does sound like a perfect neighborhood for you!

@Connie-It is important to make sure that there is nothing in there that you cannot live with BEFORE you make the decision to make the offer.  Thank you for reading!

Jan 13, 2011 02:15 AM #10
Rainmaker
449,268
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Karen, a very important subject. We are a resort community and it is hard to find a home with no restrictions. My favorite crazy one was a big new subdivision with a no fences restriction. My client said no problem he would put in an invisible fence. We were quickly informed no fences meant no fences, not even a wire in the ground.

Jan 13, 2011 02:04 PM #11
Rainmaker
528,812
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

@Tom-That is a new one....at least in the golf course communities they allow the underground kind! 

Jan 13, 2011 02:34 PM #12
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Karen Feltman

Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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