I didn’t buy a house I fell in love with for one simple reason

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Several years ago, my husband and I were looking for a new house to buy. We had been looking for a property for long enough without finding the right place for us, when we came across a house that looked absolutely perfect.

The house had the yard we wanted, the interior space we needed, a beautiful layout and it was beautiful. We could have easily afforded the mortgage payment, and the property taxes were quite low for the area. I enthusiastically showed the listing to my friends and family and asked my real estate agent to obtain the necessary documents to make an offer.

In the end, however, we never made an offer to buy and changed our minds about buying just days after falling in love with the house. Here’s why.

The reason we pulled out of buying the house was because the real estate agent provided the paperwork for the homeowners association. This paperwork included no less than 65 pages of rules and regulations.

Now some of the rules were reasonable, like not playing loud music late at night or not parking large commercial vehicles on shared streets. But, unsurprisingly, with such a long document with so many regulations, many restrictions and requirements were quite onerous.

In fact, the HOA was so strict in what homeowners could and could not do that it specified exactly the length of the lawn in inches. And there were landscaping rules that required you to have a number of specific types of plants from a pre-provided list, arranged in specific quadrants in your front beds.

This was just the beginning of the requirements imposed, and there were also many limitations such as a rule against setting up a bird feeder or a flag without written permission. And of course, you couldn’t plant off-list plants anywhere on the property.

If you broke any of these myriad rules, you were subject to fines, and if you didn’t pay them, the HOA was able to take action to collect — up to and including placing a lien on the property. or initiate foreclosure proceedings on the home.

Needless to say we weren’t going to sign for this so we opted to walk away from the property completely

Beware of Unreasonable HOA Rules

Homeowners associations can sometimes have significant benefits, including helping to maintain your property’s value and ensuring you live in an attractive neighborhood. But, the rules can also be cumbersome and seriously limit what you are allowed to do with your own space.

To ensure you don’t end up with rules you can’t live with, always ask to read all HOA documents and make sure you understand the restrictions before you commit to buying a property.

Changing the rules is very difficult and the HOA can make your life miserable if you don’t comply, so make sure you’re okay with any restrictions that come with a home before you agree to buy it. Otherwise, you might end up regretting your purchase.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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