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My house, my rules?

Are you buying real estate in Florida? Whether this major purchase is a first-time home or an investment property, you are probably relishing in the idea of making your own rules and being the king of your castle. If you've been a renter and have had to live in the shadow of the rules of a landlord, removing that part of your home life may be all the more desirable.

But when you are considering properties and deciding your needs and wants, be sure that any Home Owners' Association is fully considered. An HOA is common in subdivisions, townhomes and condos but can also be found in more rural areas. While you may or may not be able to live without a two-car garage, can you live without carpet?

While that may seem silly (changing out flooring can be an easy and inexpensive alteration), some HOA rules and provisions require that you maintain carpeting in certain areas of your home. This is usually for the benefit of neighbors that may complain about the noise that comes with walking and running in uncarpeted spaces.

Another thing an HOA could require is fencing, including the type, height and color. If you have certain breeds of dog, you may be unable to keep this furry family member. In some cases, you may have to have your paint colors approved or may be penalized for keeping your bike on your patio.

And for those of you who are looking to become a landlord, it may be in your best interest to read those HOA provisions with the help of a trained eye. There could be rules impeding your ability to use the property for any income-producing way. This is an area where a Florida real estate attorney may be able to aid in determining loopholes or options on properties with an inhibiting HOA. Home buying is an exciting time, but don't leave any major considerations unexplored prior to entering into a contract.

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