CCR’s & HOA’s….what is this madness???

by | May 14, 2016 | Real Estate | 0 comments

​Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Thursday, May 19th , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, May 21st, from 11am-2pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)

Saturday June 11th , from 9am-12pm (ish)

Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
Yay for cooler, misty weather!!

Wait!  I know you like warm weather, and I don’t mind it either…in its time, but really, 90 degrees in early May?  That is a bit excessive!!  😀  I am not a fan of hot weather, and all my poor plants are all a month early.  I really like these “Irish” days…cooler, not wet, but just ‘misty’.  My skin and my plants are soaking it up.  😀  Grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner tonight!!  ….maybe a movie and a blankie to crochet too…sigh…. yes, I think it is nice.  🙂

Now, for those still reading and who aren’t thinking I’m crazy because of the former paragraph… we are going to talk a bit about CCR’s and HOA’s this week, because I have had a few questions regarding these come up.


Covenants, Codes, and Restriction’s…..every neighborhood has them.  Yes, every neighborhood, no matter the age has CCR’s…whether you know them or not.  A CCR is the suggested guideline for that neighborhood….for example, in my neighborhood our CCR says that we need to have a flowering Japanese Plum tree in our yards….yeah, I don’t like those!  The flower petals everywhere, the dropping fruit, etc…so I don’t have one at all in my yard.  Are they enforceable?  No, and yes….what I mean is that, No, CCR’s are technically unenforceable, unless you have a HOA, or your neighbors get together to form an HOA, or enough of your neighbors complain about your violation to the city.  However, even if some neighbors do complain about your CCR violation, the code itself can be struck if enough of the folks in your neighborhood are in violation of the code.  Not everyone wants to live in a HOA, but whether you realize or not, your neighborhood…no matter the age…already has CCR’s in place.  When I had my current home built, 15 years ago, I received a copy of the CCR’s, however…there are only about 4 of us who are the original owners of the homes, so we may be the only ones who know those CCR’s as I doubt the homeowners of the other homes (some have been sold four, or five times since they were built) received a copy of the CCR’s, and even if they did, I highly doubt they read them or cared.  Remember…CCR’s are only suggested guidelines.

Homeowners Associations have a bad name, but they also have good qualities.  There is usually a month, quarterly, or yearly fee attached to them.  HOA’s are the board that enforce the CCR’s of the neighborhood.  The main purpose of the HOA is to keep home values up by maintaining a neat appearance in the neighborhood.  Some of the things a HOA can do is to maintain neighborhood parks, roads, wells, and/or any community centers.  Each HOA has a board, and if you purchase a home in a HOA talk with neighbors about the board members and how strictly they enforce the HOA.  Some other good questions if you buy into a HOA are:  What do the HOA fees go toward?  What does the HOA maintain?   Are any utilities, yard maintenance paid by the HOA?  How are they managed…by the board, the association, a property management, etc?  Can you see the yearly’s for the fees?  You don’t want to purchase into an insolvent HOA…that is an entirely different kettle of fish!  How many folks are on the HOA board?  What are the CCR’s that the HOA enforces?  If you don’t comply by the HOA’s rules, or pay the HOA dues, they can fine your property.  A HOA can also place a lien against your home for any fines, or unpaid dues. This takes time, but yes, if you buy in a HOA, they can foreclose on your property as well.   Can a HOA be removed?  Yes…I have heard of it happening, but you need to get a real estate attorney involved.  If you are buying a home in a new neighborhood then most likely a HOA has already been set up.  Many builders now set those up with a management company, but the HOA isn’t usually activated until the development is completely built out.  Sometimes they don’t get activated until someone remembers later, as I had that happen to a client as well.  HOA’s can be a good thing, or a bad thing…it just depends on the HOA board members, and the rules themselves… Remember the HOA woman in ‘Over the Hedge’?  …just saying…  🙂
City Codes...

City Codes are something that none of us can get out of if you live in city limits.  There are a ton of them, and the vast majority of folks are breaking at least one, and usually more.  Typically you won’t find out that you are breaking a city code…unless a neighbor complains about you to the city.  The city official will then come out to your home and survey the cause of complaint, and then either contact you directly or mail you regarding the code violation.  Some neighbors are continually on the look out for things that irritate them, and will call about it.  I have had this happen to me… The sidewalk ends in front of my home, so no one uses it as the sidewalk across the street goes all the way around.  Some of my ground cover is on the dead end sidewalk…this is a code violation.  Our garbage cans were on the sidewalk after garbage pick up day…this is a code violation.  We have a fire hydrant in our yard that needs a 3 foot clearance around it…no worries, we knew about that and had always been careful to trim these beautiful butterfly bushes around it….but did you know that there also has to be a 50 foot sight clearance from the other side of traffic?  Somebody came up with this code a couple of years ago, and so after 12 years of those butterfly bushes being there, I had to remove them.  This happened 3 years ago, and I am still cranky about it!  😀  There was sight around the fire hydrant, but in a 6 inch area there was a blind spot because of the butterfly bushes.  The county gave us two weeks to do so.  Of course, the yellow paint on the corner saying, “hey!  there’s a fire hydrant here” obviously wasn’t enough.  😀  Now, many people are in violation of this city code….in fact the folks behind us have the same issue still (3 years later), but they haven’t received a neighbor complaint, and we did.  I had the city official come out and we talked about what I can do.  It won’t make the neighbors happy, but…. well, I won’t be heartbroken about that!  😀  Most people try to get along, but there is always going to be one or two who have too much time on their hands.  🙂  Talk to the city official first if this happens to you…have them come out and explain the problem, and as about what types of corrections you can do that will alleviate the problem.  The neighbors we had that always complained about our flowers moved about 2 years ago….we were not upset to see them leave.  LOL
While city codes may not apply to those living outside city limits, county codes do.  Yes, county’s have their own codes that you may not be aware of…unless someone complains, and then you will find out.  🙂  City and county codes have to do with pets, sidewalks, street parking, easements, etc…and again, while they are out there and most of us are in violation of a few, they aren’t usually an issue unless a neighbor complains, or something happens.  You can call the city and/or county regarding city codes, but that is an awful lot of paperwork!  😀

Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.  
 As always….this is just a quick overview…. please remember that your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email,  text, or facebook me anytime.  I am, as always, happy to help!

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

.   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics:  Buying a home & buying a car…how is that alike & different?
Last Week:  What’s in a homes value, or purchase price? 

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,

Tracie DeMars / Realtor

ReMax Equity Group
License# 81289
Vancouver, WA

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