Statutes and Regulatory Practices
The trickiest restrictions on property usage emanate from more general city, county and state regulations. They are tricky precisely because they are more general, because they are not “attached” to the specific property that you are looking at. As a consequence, you will probably receive no specific notification of these restrictions during the home buying process.
For example, many city and county ordinances restrict the number of dogs that a homeowner can have on a residential property or the number of unrelated individuals who can share a home. If you have five dogs or five good friends who will be moving in with you, there is no established process to notify you that you may be buying a problem. An example more specific to our market: State law in Colorado has long restricted subdividing land into parcels under 35 acres unless the landowner obtains the approval from the local governing jurisdiction, that is, the county or city in which the land is located. In Boulder County, that approval has generally been denied for the past 30 years. If you and your extended family move from Vermont and buy a large house on 69 acres, thinking that later you will build three more houses on the property so that everyone can have their own place, you’ll be in for a shock when you discover that only one home can be built on the 69 acres. It’s too small to divide into two 35 acre parcels. Your only protection against these surprises is to review the specific plans you have for using a property with city and county planners, with local real estate attorneys, and/or with local real estate agents before you buy the property.