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Generally speaking, once you sell your house, the buyer is free to do with it what they will. This can be a hard fact of life for some who, despite the need or desire to sell their home, is still emotionally attached to the place they once lived. New homeowners are normally free to paint the house some gaudy yellow color, tear out the kitchen cabinets you installed, and even rip out your favorite plants.
But in some instances there may be ways for sellers to place conditions or restrictions on the home sale. Here's a look.
Most of the conditions or contingencies that a home seller can place on the home have to do with the sale rather than with the property afterwards. As part of the sale contract, a seller may request a deposit on the home, or that a certain amount of the purchase price be placed in escrow before closing. He or she may also request verification of financing or a mortgage loan before the sale is finalized.
Any conditions you place on the buyer regarding the sale must be reasonable, therefore conditions that extend beyond the closing date are generally unenforceable. Courts are unlikely to void the sale of your home if the buyer knocked down the tree house in the back after saying they wouldn't.
While it may be difficult for the seller to impose conditions after the home sale, neighborhoods and homeowner's associations have an easier time. Referred to as covenants, conditions, and restrictions ("CC&Rs"), they are promises or agreements, formalized in a deed, concerning the use of the land or real estate. Most common in planned developments, like subdivisions of homes built by a particular builder, closed or gated residential areas, condominium associations, or housing cooperatives, CC&Rs can cover everything from home architecture to yard work and are enforceable in court.
If you have a question about placing a condition on the sale of your home, or getting out of a condition on a house you may buy, contact an experienced real estate attorney in your area.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.