What Are Architectural Controls?

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Architectural Controls can be both a delight and a liability, depending where on the chain of ownership you are, what you desire to do with the property and the controls themselves can impact many aspects of your life and of those who come after you.

For instance, perhaps you now own a property whose natural beauty you want to protect, even after you’ve moved on and someone else has purchased it. You can enter a caveat on title, stipulating that it must be used as you specify. Some regional governments (such as state/county/province/municipalities) in some areas are enlisting the aid of their citizens to put private lands into a conservancy. If you do, research your options carefully before signing away any property rights.

Controls can range in complexity from very basic (for example: only stating that a residence no larger or no smaller than “x” amount of square feet is allowed to be constructed on the site, and that no secondary residences can be built) to extremely complicated and costly requirements. Architectural guidelines can encompass fencing, landscaping, site grading, type and style of home, including exterior finishes, roof styles and types and finishes, windows, land usage, landscaping and much more.

Normally, these controls are also registered on title and in the newer (generally since 1990) subdivisions and construction projects you can not even get a building permit, until the developer’s Architectural controller has approved your home plans, finishes and landscaping plans.

Often there is at least a deposit payable (sometimes refundable) for landscaping which is held for 1 year to allow you to comply. Sometimes there is even an application fee for them to approve your home plans. So research BEFORE you buy!

What Are Architectural Controls?

When deciding upon a subdivision, not only might there be architectural controls which can cost you plenty to comply with, but there may also be a Home Owners Association. Some individuals love this idea and others are repulsed. In a nutshell, this is where your neighborhood association decides if they would “like” you as a neighbor. Of course there are membership fees associated with this once you are accepted into the fold. How much varies from place to place. Some associations provide real value, others don’t.