Understanding the Different Types of Rules, Restrictions, and Laws that Might Impact What You Build
Thursday, July 14th, 2022 by Amber Nestor Professional Real Estate Agent for Tennessee - Land, Luxury, & Watersource Specialist
So you want to buy some land? Well, it's important to know how you are allowed to use this land.
I like to explain this to my buyers and investors in terms of LAYERS.
There are layers of rules, regulations, and laws which must be followed.
Here is a layered cake. (Always ask permission FIRST, and be kind and respectful. Be prepared to request in writing if you are needing to document an exception be made to a rule. Keep good records of what you were told you can and can not do.}
Most restrictive layer - Home Owner's Association Rules (Usually includes an Architectural Review Approval Process) - Enforced by HOA Management Team and/or Other Property Owners in the Development - Often includes warnings, notices, penalties and fines, or possibly legal action to force specific performance when cooperation is not achieved.
Next restrictive layer - Subdivision Rules - Enforced by Other Property Owners in the Development - Without a governing body for an HOA in place, other property owners can file papers in court requesting your be forced to comply with the rules of record.
Next restrictive layer - County Zoning Code Rules - Enforced by County and other property owners in area. - Can determine what you can build, types of structures, types of uses, and proximity of structures to property lines, and more.
Last restrictive layer - Surveys and Easements - This can determine present, past, or even future potential access and location needs for utilities, driveways, TVA, TWRA, county roads department, access to land-locked parcels, internet, cable, phone, mineral rights, water right, and more.
Currently, many top real estate search websites, including the MLS and IDX (featured on my website's home-page}, will have a section that says something like this:
Subdivision Name: Fill in blank.
Restrictions: Yes or No
HOA: Yes or No
HOA Name: Fill in blank.
The way this should be interpreted is as follows: Subdivision Name and Rules must be verified by your Real Estate Agent, and by your Title Company for Closing. HOA Name and Rules must be verified by your Real Estate Agent, and by your Title Company for Closing. Lastly, the section that says "Restrictions: Yes or No" typically is only referring to HOA or Subdivision level rules." It is considered to be a "given" that ALL property as SOME TYPE of county zone code, and has some type of rules imposed upon it by the county, etc.
The Zone Code, and it's rules must be verified by your Real Estate Agent, and by your Title Company for Closing, as well.
Having an agent, like myself, who spends countless hours researching rules in over 20 counties in the Eastern Half of TN daily is an asset it any type of property search, because I have developed an incredible familiarity with the people, offices, documents, and language used to convey, record, and describe these things. What might take you many hours, could likely be completed in a fraction of that time by me. In some cases, I might even have them memorized.
So, the big question, is there anywhere in TN where you can TRULY buy totally unrestricted land? Where there is little to NO limitation on what you are allowed to do with that land? The answer is, surprisingly, YES. I have found land like this before. It typically is in regions where it is VERY rural, and the area needs to encourage buyers and growth of a variety of types.
If you are wanting to build a single wide modular home, there is a specific zone code for that. If you are wanting to build a double wide mobile home, there are more zone codes available for that. If you want to build a "stick built" or traditional type structure, there are even more zone codes that allow that.
The idea with rules and regulations regarding architecture is to ENCOURAGE the development of property that will HOLD AND MAINTAIN value rather than to have property or construction that creates RISK of becoming dilapidated, damaged, and in disrepair, which in turns results in the the degradation of property values surrounding the damaged or dilapidated site. At times, ONE very badly maintained property, can harm value for ALL properties appearing AFTER it on a road, because everyone must drive past that DAMAGED property on the way to the others, and it creates a feeling of concern with safety and surroundings, which is only natural.
The ideal investment property is one which is most likely to have and continue to have what I call "well established surroundings". This means that it is easy to witness that nearby properties are well maintained, and that it is reasonable to believe that in the future the surroundings are most likely to stay in good condition or improve.
Thank you so much for visiting my website. I hope this helps you understand the way land can be used, and how valuable and helpful an agent who specializes in land research, like myself, can be in your search to reach your property purchase goals.
Thank you, and I pray God blesses you with health, wealth, and happiness.
Amber Nestor - Professional Real Estate Agent
Land, Luxury, and Watersource Property
Proverbs 31 The Virtues of a Noble Woman New International Version
16She appraises a field and buys it;
from her earnings she plants a vineyard.
and shows that her arms are strong.
18She sees that her gain is good,
and her lamp is not extinguished at night.
19She stretches out her hands to the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20She opens her arms to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21When it snows, she has no fear for her household,
for they are all clothed in scarlet.d
22She makes coverings for her bed;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known at the city gate,
where he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchants.
25Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the days to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband praises her as well:
29“Many daughters have done noble things,
but you surpass them all!”
30Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31Give her the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her at the gates.