Future Use of Nearby Land Can Affect Your Home's Value

I just read a local horror story. A couple bought a home, believing it would be backing onto a golf course. Now the buider has applied to build more houses instead of the golf course. And the couple in question have no recourse to protest, because they didn't realize that some obscure clauses in their purchase agreement prevents them from doing so.

Builders often market their new developments based on what is happening in the nearby lands. For instance, there is a new trend for developers build upscale homes near such green spaces as golf courses. In many cases, this means that a homeowner has no neighbors behind their home. This is very attractive, both because of the nearby "open" land, and for the additional sense of privacy.

However, you can't just take the builder's word for what will happen on adjoining property. This is one place where you have to have a good lawyer review the original contract, and warn you of clauses that allow the builder to apply for changes to zoning. If such clauses are in the contract, this can be a warning that all is not as it seems.

So, what do you do in order to protect your investment and make sure the "neighborhood" you are buying into remains the neighborhood you expect?

1. Make sure the contract you sign states clearly what any adjoining or surrounding lands are going to be used for. Also make sure that your contract doesn't restrict your ability to protest the use of adjoining lands.

2. Have your lawyer carefully read the contract for any indications that the builder may have the ability to change how adjoining lands will be used.

3. If you are paying a premium for a property that adjoins "parkland", make sure that the municipality owns it and that the uses of that land are restricted.

Your neighborhood affects your home's value. Don't overlook how important it is to know what is happening around you.


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