Looking at the legal restrictions will reveal what you can and cannot do on your property and ensure that you are aware of what you’re buying into, so there won’t be any surprises down the line.

The absolute worst thing you can do is buy and then only later realize that, according to the rules and regulations, ‘sorry you can’t do that’, or ‘you have to do it this way or this way’…That’s a type #1 error hole you won’t be able to climb out of…

You want to find out everything you can about these aspects before you commit to a place.

Specifically, you should ensure that you understand legal restrictions regarding:

  1. Water rights
  2. Zoning laws
  3. Building codes
  4. Homeowners’ association

STEP 1. Conduct Internet research

  • Go onto the website of the city, municipality or district the property is located in and search the property address.
  • Find out more about the property’s water rights and zoning regulations.
  • Look at the specifics of building code restrictions and the required building permits.

STEP 2: Visit or call the municipality office

  • If you can’t find much information online, make inquiries over the phone or visit the municipality offices to discover more about the water rights, zoning regulations, and building code restrictions.

STEP 3: Talk with the realtor

  • A realtor will have access to much of this information. As you’re examining the property, inquire about the property’s water rights, zoning and building code regulations, and, if relevant, homeowners’ association. 

STEP 4: Consider consulting an attorney

  • If you have any questions or concerns, you may want to talk to a local land-use attorney. An attorney may be able to help you clarify the legal language around these issues and determine what might be permitted with the property.

Type #1 Risk Assessment:

Whatever you’ve set up to do with the property make sure that there aren’t legal restrictions around it. Unless the regulatory atmosphere is very relaxed assume that the regulations will be enforced and avoid overly regulated properties especially the ones with strict HOA-planned development rules.

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