Now’s the time for planning landscaping improvements to your home for sale. But don’t walk too far down the primrose path without contacting your Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or you might find yourself on a road to nowhere.
The ABCs of HOAs
An HOA is are formal legal entities created to maintain common areas; they have the authority to enforce deed restrictions. Most condominium and townhome developments, and many newer single-family subdivisions have HOAs, which are usually created when the development is built. Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s) are issued to each homeowner, and HOAs are established to ensure that they are adhered to in order to maintain the quality and value of the properties involved.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
These rules often include provisions about landscaping. A quick Internet search revealed many HOA landscaping horror stories, from the man who lost his home over a rose garden to a North Carolina couple who racked up tens of thousands in legal bills defending their palm trees.
And these weren’t cases in which the landscaping was unsightly. In fact, both were upscale, costly renovations that may have looked beautiful but that also violated an HOA rule.
Reap What You Sow
HOA rules vary greatly from community to community, but many include restrictions on lawns, height and type of trees, type and amount of flowers, walkway placement and material, and so on. Basically, if you can see it, they can police it.
So, dig out your HOA rules, contact them to make sure the rules haven’t changed, and then plan and plant your garden accordingly.
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara