If you’re buying rural land, you’ll want to become familiar with any covenants, conditions and restrictions (AKA: CCRs) that apply to your property and community. We interviewed Jason Shearer of Raydient Places + Properties to get the scoop on exactly what CCRs are and how they protect your investment.
One of the big reasons people move to the country, is to have more freedom and autonomy when it comes to their property. And if you’ve been living in a subdivision with a strict HOA board who dictates everything from the length of your grass to the style of your mailbox, then you know what we’re talking about!
However, when making such a sizable investment, it’s wise to consider how the surrounding area may affect your land and home value.
That’s why some rural communities have what’s known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (also known as CCRs) in place, to help secure land values while preserving the flexibility and freedoms of rural life that property owners cherish.
What Exactly are Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions?
Simply put, CCRs are controls as to what can and can’t be done within a community. They are recorded in the public record, usually in the County Clerk’s office, and a title search should reveal CCRs as well as any other restrictions that apply to the property.
Think of CCRs as the rules of a rural neighborhood.
To learn more, we talked to Jason Shearer, of Raydient Places + Properties. Shearer oversees Raydient Places; small, consumer-friendly land parcels which offer attributes such as easy access, convenient location, country charm and a peaceful setting:
“Most people want complete freedom --- they just don’t want their neighbor to have complete freedom,” says Shearer.
“Our goal is to create small rural communities where people can reconnect with the land through a different product than a standard subdivision,” he explains.
The parcels run anywhere from an acre up to hundreds of acres for living, recreational or agricultural purposes. Commercial use is prohibited.
The Raydient Places project has CCRs that typically address such issues as square footage of houses, setback requirements, and avoidance of offensive noise, odors and activities.
CCRs vs. HOAs...What’s the Difference?
CCRs are often associated with, but not the same as, a Homeowners Association (HOA).
HOAs are established to manage communal property within a community, such as a pool or a playground. A board of directors, elected by members, enforces rules that relate to these jointly shared areas.
CCRs are the rules that HOAs enforce. If there is no communal property, a HOA is typically not required and CCRs can be enforced by each community member.
“We rely on each neighbor to enforce or police the rules,” says Shearer. “We’ve found that most people’s problem is not with reasonable restrictions themselves, but with the typical HOA-style enforcement which can be too restrictive and imposing for some folks.”
How CCRs Protect Land Owners
Petty infractions are not the true reason Raydient employs CCRs. Shearer believes that most people find sensible CCRs beneficial. “When people buy rural land, they are kind of scared if they haven’t done it before.” He continues, “They don’t know what to expect. People are spending a lot of money, and they certainly don’t want their land to be devalued because of what their neighbors are doing. We want to give people freedom --- but we also want to make sure they feel secure about their investment.”
Commonsense restrictions protect value so owners aren’t blindsided by such unfortunate situations, like neighbors who might have a medical waste facility or a junkyard on their property.
“We do not intend to be out with a ruler measuring grass,” he says. “Our goal is to give people as much freedom as we can, while still preserving the integrity and quality of the land and community.”
Consider CCRs as a protective tool to maintain value.
“Our CCRs basically state that people will keep their property in decent condition,” he says. The bottom line is CCRs are “like a general statement to be a good neighbor.”