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Deed Restriction

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Know your terminology:
Check out our updated Glossary!

Most consumers may have heard the term, "deed restriction," but few realize the impact it can have on a property's use.

Almost all properties have restrictions, and although most are minor, it is wise for a prospective buyer to find out what limitations have been put in place before they purchase a home.

For instance, some not only impact how an owner may use their property - by limiting the kinds of exterior structures that can be built onto it - but they can even dictate acceptable colors that a house can be painted!

Of course, limitations about house color are an extreme example, but it is not unusual for a buyer to discovery, long after they've owned the home, about a pesky restriction that does get in their way. Perhaps the gazebo or enclosed patio they have always wanted is prohibited.

One common restriction is a limitation on the types of businesses that can be run from the home, such as day-care or even piano tutoring. In the case of condominiums or town-homes, restrictions are often more limiting, such as specifying an acceptable screen door style, or the types of window coverings allowed for windows facing common areas.

Deed restrictions are spelled out in the Deed of Conveyance: however, the buyer does not usually see this document until the purchase has been completed. To find what restrictions apply to a property before making an offer, a buyer usually needs only to ask their real estate agent. The agent will either know what the deed restrictions are or s/he can research them. A request to an agent or a trip to the County Recorder's Office may save untold hours of grief for the prospective buyer.


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