Surprise! Same house style, same updates and maintenance, and on the same street, but one house sold for $25,000 less than the other. How does that happen? It might surprise you to discover that one poorly kept home on a street can adversely affect the price of all the homes on the street. Or it might affect only the home sitting next to the Frankenpatch with its 3 foot high weeds, untended garden and automotive cemetery.
This is often the strongest argument for a neighborhood Home Owner Association to enforce methodical conformity to covenants on all its residents. Once found mainly in Condominium complexes, more and more single family home developments are instituting Home Owners Associations.
First gaining popularity in the neighborhoods of America in the 1960’s, the concept of covenants administered by a self-governing Association was implemented with a main view toward providing protection of home values within a specific development. But are covenants, restricting every home in a given area to uniformity, the answer to protecting value?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Covenants may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they may well be the path to sustained home values, creation of harmony in the neighborhood and champion for peace of mind to the residents. Here are some of the Pros and Cons as shared by homeowners who lived with covenants or continue to live in neighborhoods governed by covenants.
Protection of home values
Maintenance of common areas, such as playground or parks
Sense of security and safety; with use of speed bumps or security patrols
Uniformly pleasing views throughout the neighborhood
May foster a sense of community and camaraderie among residents
May eliminate problem areas such as pet control issues
Provides services such as trash and snow removal and possibly provide certain routine maintenance for the homeowner
Additional fees above mortgage payments; possibility of increased fees in the future
Restrictions may feel too controlling; additional restrictions added after purchase
Lack of individual expression leading to cookie cutter design; limits in house colors or style changes
Limits on personal activity – pools, play equipment in the yard, ability to fence, landscaping obligations or limitations, outdoor furniture restrictions, parking situations for your vehicles
Pet restrictions may be viewed as too harsh and controlling
Possibly narrows sales options which could result in lower resale values
The decision to purchase in a covenanted neighborhood will be a highly personal one. While some will love and thrive on the uniformity; others may grow to dislike the lack of personal expression allowed in things like home colors or renovations they’d like to make.
I recommend a careful consideration of CC & R’s – Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions that govern any home you are contemplating purchasing, along with being certain you understand all the decision making policies of the Home Owners Association Board. It may be that the loss in one area may gain something more valuable to you in another area.
If you're looking to buy or sell a home in Keller or the surrounding areas, call me. I have been dabbling in real estate since I was legal to do it! And it's been a passion ever since. It would be my pleasure to go over the pros and cons of your real estate decisions with you. Anytime.