If you are buying an Intown Atlanta condominium, then you will certainly want to know what the CC&R (Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions) are in the community where you are buying.
CC&R’s are most often defined as stipulations and constraints recorded in the Condominium Declaration that restrict the what you, the buyer can and cannot do within the building and even inside your own home. There may be penalties for failure to comply, or these can be set and adjusted by the Home Owners Association (HOA) Board of Directors. This document is used primarily to define the rules in the building, and while they can be quite restrictive, that really ARE for your protection.
What are some of the items or rules in a CC&R? As I thumb through a copy of the condominium documents (you’ll hear these called condo docs for short) here are some of the areas covered:
- Alterations to the Interior of a Component — meaning you may not make substantial renovations to the inside of your home without first gaining approval of the Architectural Review Board(ARB). This is NOT a bad thing….but is meant to protect you and/or your neighbors from doing something that could cause harm or damage to another home. Keep in mind, the walls in condos are filled with wiring and pipes that might service adjoining homes. Cutting into sheet rock could possibly damage these if you don’t know where they are. The ARB has the engineering plans and can make sure none of your planned renovations could cause problems.
- Pets — The HOA can restrict the type, size and number of pets that a resident may have in their home.
- Restriction of Use of your Unit — this usually is to control your neighbor from running a business out of their condominium which might affect your quiet enjoyment of your home. An example might be a personal trainer or massage therapist that has clients coming to see them on a regular basis.
- Balconies, Terraces and Patios — these regulations are for a number of reasons. First off, when standing on a balcony, you often can see multiple other balconies at any time. Do you want to look at a bunch of pots full of dead plants, or bikes, or other stuff? Most likely not, hence the rules. Also of concern in a high rise is the wind factor. When you are 20 or 30 stories up in the air, the wind is a whole different animal. Plastic furniture can easily be lifted right off a balcony…and by the time it reaches the ground, it’s a lethal weapon that could seriously injure someone. Hence, rules about the kinds of furniture you can have.But, CC&R’s can also be an issue in single family neighborhoods. These communities can have rental restrictions such that you get a job transfer and think you can rent your house, but you can’t! They also have strict landscape guidelines as well as rules about things such as paint colors, garage doors being left open, parking of trucks or other items, etc.
When making your Intown Atlanta home or condominium purchase, always make sure your real estate agent obtains a copy of this information during your due diligence period and you have ample time to review it and ask any questions. If you find restrictions you cannot live with, you can terminate your Purchase Agreement and look for another home. But when you close, you will sign documentation from your lender that you acknowledge there is a homeowners’ association and that you agree to abide by all rules.
Also in today’s market, it is wise to see financial statements to learn about the condition of the HOA and their financial stability. With numerous foreclosures in today’s market place, some HOA’s may have not allowed for this loss in revenue and could have reserve issues. This can also become a problem during your lenders’ review of the HOA.
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