WHAT? You actually read the by-laws for the association?

Real Estate Agent with Rossi & Riina Real Estate VT# 082-0007326

We all sell condos, townhouses, carriage houses and other properties that have bylaws and rules & regulations that govern the association. In Vermont we have a contingency that the Buyer receive, read and approve all the docs and resale certificate if it is a condo. 

The painful truth is that very few people ever read the docs and only a few skim them to see if it is ok for them to have Fido or Rascal. 

Bright light on a house at night

News flash! They really should read the docs and obey them if there is to be a peaceful cohesive community.

 Lets take it one step further. Lets say the development is on or adjacent to a conserved land and the stewardship of said land falls to the community itself. Might it be a good idea for the members to familiarize themselves with the mission of the community? 

I know several of the property managers in this county and most of the problems they get calls on are residents disobeying the rules, regulations and bylaws out of ignorance or complete disregard for their neighbors; whether it is letting their precious dog run at large in the community defecating where it may or noise or light pollution.

If people cannot tolerate the rules they should not move there.Therefore it is always a good idea to read the associated docs and YES, agree or decide it is not for you.

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Comments (11)

Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

great point, in Oklahoma our contracts require that by laws and HOA documents be delivered to the buyer previous to closing. Not reading them is like buying a home without doing a full home inspection and that is buyer beware.

Mar 29, 2014 07:54 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I have found, by serving on my own HOA board, that many of the covenants and rules fall in line with county ordinances that exist for various reasons.

Mar 29, 2014 10:13 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Dana it's important to point out to each and every client the importance of going through and at the very least being familiar with the HOA rules and regs of the community they're buying into....no surprises after the closing is a good thing.

Mar 29, 2014 02:47 PM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"


People sign the addendum stating they have read and approve. But did they really? 

Chris Ann,

Parts of our HOA docs mimick the town or county regs however we have a LARGE difference from town (city) to town even in one county. That makes it more difficult to navigate these.


I try to get a list of the "key" rules from the developers but they are reluctant to do so. Rules like "pet, planting, parking, noise, lighting, keeping trash bins inside, utility trailers parked, boat parking, RV parking etc. Only a few have a spot for boats and RVs.


Mar 30, 2014 12:26 AM
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Dana Basiliere is an experienced and ethical agent. Contact him at (802) 846-9593 for all your Real Estate needs.

Apr 02, 2014 12:54 AM
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

I've had some buyers ask me to review the documents with them, and I do try to ensure they know what I think they should be focused on as they review.

Dec 12, 2014 03:01 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Dana, few buyers EVER read the covenants or bylaws before signing on the dotted line. In most cases they close on the property then read the docs WHEN there is a question or concern. That's too late! It's challenging to pour through 75 pages of legalese, but it's a necessary evil. An informed buyer needs to know what they are agreeing to.

Jun 02, 2017 06:54 AM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Pat,  I know it can lead to problems in the neighborhood when they don't follow the rule because they didn't read them.

Jun 02, 2017 04:51 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I Love that WHAT you read the bylaws.... they are always very long and pretty boring but people should read them!  Good Post! 

Nov 03, 2017 08:02 PM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Thank you, Debra,

There are times when it is even more critical but my experience has been the buyers often cannot be bothered especially if the docs are extensive.  Our attorneys will point out big points and I try to point out the ones I think could cause an issue. 

Nov 04, 2017 05:22 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Isn't it great when you get a client who really does read it all and asks questions about it!  I try to skim them myself to see if there's any issues that could be a problem, and point it out if needed.

Jun 13, 2019 05:22 PM