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Old 01-03-2013, 02:01 PM   #29
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A real estate contract has many ways to get out of it. One is if the mortgage doesn't come through. But there are others in a standard contract—if the inspection shows up problems and the 2 parties cannot agree how to solve that, the appraisal is too low compared to the agreed upon price, a survey or title search shows problems, disclosures not made or disclosures are made that show the property isn't ok. If there is no other way out, a buyer can refuse to close and lose their earnest money. Banks who agreed to take a mortgage sometimes walk away at the last moment and most people don't sue the bank, so everyone walks away. Most realtors and lawyers will tell you a real estate contract is easy to get out of and many closings never happen. I know that presently more closings fail than used to and it is always a concern. Real estate contracts are dependent on many things being done before closing, giving opportunity for the contract to fail. Any contract is a process where things change during the term of the contract, but real estate is a constant process.

So a paragraph can be added to a contract that says the contract is void if RV parking is not permitted by any municipality, county, covenant, HOA declaration or any other entity. You could write in further requirements—parking ok in backyard only, parking ok be side of house, etc. You would provide a date—say 10 or 15 days after the contract is signed by all parties, for the seller to show there is no problem. How they do this is problematical—they can show you any rules or covenants, but what if there are none they know of? They can give you a copy of local ordinances showing there's nothing or say they reviewed them and all is ok. They can get letters from the local jurisdiction or their lawyer saying it is ok, but in the end you need to check too. If they assure and they are wrong, you could provide for liquidated damages or some other way out, but this is getting complicated and you need to ask locally an expert in these kind of contracts. Real estate contracts always provide for additions and it just has to be added to the original offer. A local lawyer can help you (probably cheaper than a year's storage) and the realtor will say he or she can write it (you'll have to make your own judgment whether they can).

Ordinances can change, but they usually provide for pre-existing uses to be grandfathered. It would probably be called a "nonconforming use" and you could store it so long as you kept it. If you didn't have an RV for a certain amount of time (6 mos. or a year are common), then you would lose the right. Building and zoning codes always change and they rarely require you to rebuild your house every time they do change. Sometimes some modifications are required when the house is sold, but those are usually minor things like CO detectors.

This may sound to you at this point like a nightmare. Try to see it as a problem that has a solution, but the solution requires some expertise from someone locally. There is no absolute, ironclad solution to this or much else in life, so when you are sure you've done the best you can and have asked the people who can assure you, move forward.

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Old 01-03-2013, 02:38 PM   #30
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that makes sense.

It does all make me squeamish to invest in materials and labor costs of making a building on such a property to cover (roof only vs. say 3 sides +/- gate) - would hate to put a pretty significant sum into building this only to find it would be mandated to tear down?

I guess if I get some form of building permit (and pardon me, but I am entirely ignorant about such things tbh) and that would give me peace of mind that it could remain?
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:10 PM   #31
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So a paragraph can be added to a contract that says the contract is void if RV parking is not permitted by any municipality, county, covenant, HOA declaration or any other entity....
And then the seller moves on to the next contract. Why would the seller want to take on the risk of being wrong, when most of the other buyers out there won't care?

I've occasionally considered starting a Camping Association for our city for owners of RVs both for fun and so that we're ready if there ever is a proposal to ban them or regulate them more, or anything like that. Quite a few people have them but we're not organized.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:18 PM   #32
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"when most of the other buyers out there won't care?"

this is a good point perhaps...but this is a buyers market...and depending on what you got listed, the buyer has many more options so they can afford to be more picky than the seller for sure....

My wife probably (im guessing) will not want to muddy the waters too much...and that is fine...I can do my homework anyway best I can do...and just go from there...

Still though...in building a cover of some sort for an AS in the back yard....I guess I would just get a blding permit for that? any experience with that folks?
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:19 PM   #33
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Developers commonly request zoning and building permits when they have an option to buy a property or if they have a contract to buy with a condition that the sale does not complete if they cannot receive the necessary approvals. For a homeowner to do that is unusual and you'd probably have to rely on assurances from regulators that a building permit for a cover for the trailer would issue. To get a permit before you close would require you to show a legal or equity interest in the property—a contract to buy may be good enough for them. Again, check the ordinances and talk to them.

A seller in this real estate climate would probably be glad to have a contract with conditions unless he has numerous offers—numerous offers are very uncommon right now. It depends on the seller. As I said, real estate contracts have many conditions in them, so another one may or may not be too much for a particular seller.

Whatever jurisdiction the property is in may change the rules at any time, but you can find out what is on the agenda and whether council members or commissioners are considering changes. Changes may affect properties in the process of changing hands or not.

There is always risk involved and the hope is to minimize it. A contract can include terms to minimize it or shift it to the seller. Maybe the local government allows the seller to apply for a permit and then transfer it to you upon closing—you'd have to check on that too.

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:29 PM   #34
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ok, I got ya...Ill simply need then to see what currently I could do at that given property...and just go from there...that is most likely how I will proceed at this point....
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:32 PM   #35
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that makes sense.

It does all make me squeamish to invest in materials and labor costs of making a building on such a property to cover (roof only vs. say 3 sides +/- gate) - would hate to put a pretty significant sum into building this only to find it would be mandated to tear down?

I guess if I get some form of building permit (and pardon me, but I am entirely ignorant about such things tbh) and that would give me peace of mind that it could remain?
In most communities (other them with HOA) the ordinances are complaint driven enforcement. This means someone with 6 30'+ trailers that are falling apart that doesn't get complaints is fine while someone with a new 16' Airstream with 1 complaint has problems.

If you get a building permit you should have no problems with anything.

Of coarse there are many differences on building codes and permits, where I live you can build up to a 25'X25' building with no permit or inspection, a friend of mine that lives 1/4 mile from me (in the next township) needs a permit to put up one of those 8'X8' preassembled sheds you can buy plus an inspection before pouring a 3' deep concrete foundation and a second inspection after the shed is fastened to the concrete.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:36 PM   #36
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that makes sense.

It does all make me squeamish to invest in materials and labor costs of making a building on such a property to cover (roof only vs. say 3 sides +/- gate) - would hate to put a pretty significant sum into building this only to find it would be mandated to tear down?

I guess if I get some form of building permit (and pardon me, but I am entirely ignorant about such things tbh) and that would give me peace of mind that it could remain?
Any new improvements to the property, short of a small garden shed or fence, will very likely require a building permit. Honestly, the only way that you are going to get this topic satisfied is for you to go to you municipal hall and visit with the person(s) who can answer your questions. Each municipality is different and will present similar but differing challenges and rules. When people come to me to design a house or addition, the first thing I do is read the building by-laws and let them tell me what can be built. If something is unclear, I visit the planning desk and ask for clarification. You need to do the same thing, but as homeowner, rather than design professional. Talk to whoever is in charge of local by-laws (or statutes) and explain what you want to do and find out if there are any hurdles preventing you from doing them. Next, go to the planning/building desk and go through the process again. Only the people who represent your particular authority having jurisdiction will be able to answer your questions definitively. Like I mentioned earlier, for you own peace of mind, ask them to show you the statutes that will apply to you. Same with at the planning desk. They'll be able to show you the building by-laws and codes that pertain to your property and will show you what kind of structure you can build (if any at all). If you want to get a head start, go to the municipality/town/city web site and look at the statutes/by-laws and read what they say. Pay particular attention to the section on off-street parking. You'll get lots of advice on this forum about what may or may not be possible, but you'll only get the true answer once you visit the people who can tell you the local rules and regulations. Good luck.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:46 PM   #37
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Sure makes me glad i live in the rural south where our trailers are hardly even noticed parked among all the old cars on concrete blocks
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:02 PM   #38
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This is not a majordriving force for our decision making...ive already been researching storage costs (found 40 per month uncovered, 115 per month covered with power, 220 indoors, no climate control, has power..still looking though at this point)...but we figure we will at least have it as a consideration...I think the area we are looking at its all open...like it or not, ive seen in these areas I am speaking of some pretty crummy old buildings, junkers in the front, etc...mostly though not so much...I would find a spot in the back that is out of the way, or the building I would erect do some barrier landscaping and such over time...I am thinking I will have no issues perhaps...plus if its a shiny AS, it will help home values right

Anyway, this is all a bit premature, but as I wait for the money to get into the bank, I figure ill get my ducks in a row.

Thanks,
Ellery
Whew. Over here in nice and spacious Los Angeles , its 150 per month uncovered. Part of our year-long house search had the requirement of a place to park the trailer on our property and (A) have it be safer (B) have it be convenient and (C) save that cost.
In some neighborhoods, the regulations were clearly posted online, and in other neighborhoods, the conversation went something like this:
ME: Hi, I'm calling to ask about city regulations regarding storing trailers on the property.
Gov: Oh, you would like to store a trailer on your property??!?!
ME: Well, I am looking at purchasing in the neighborhood of _____, and we have a trailer.
Gov: Well, there are certain regulations against it established for the safety and values of yourself and others and you would need to come down to the office with a request for permit. There are also size limitations. How big is your trailer?
ME: Oh its just a little Airstream, appr--
Gov: Oh an AIRSTREAM?! How wonderful!! My uncle/sister/cousin/high school friend's grandparents used to have an amazing Airstream. Those are just the coolest things ever.
ME: Yeah, it's--
Gov: Oh my goodness we used to have the best times in that thing. I'm sure it won't be a problem to keep that on the property. If you are looking in _________ neighborhood, you can even leave it in the driveway legally or keep it parked on the street for up to XX days.
ME: So it's legal and everything?
Gov: Oh, Of course.....(muttering) I loved that Airstream thing......

This may sound like a joke, but it's 95% true. Multiple conversations. Made me really appreciate our decision in purchasing an Airstream over SOB.

I know it may not apply here, but just giving my experience.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:44 PM   #39
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Cameron's process is a good one.

Do not go to talk to the permit guys with an attitude even if their answers sound crazy or stupid. They may be neither crazy or stupid, but just trying to explain things you don't understand. If so, just tell them this is all new to you and ask what they mean. If they don't like you, they can make it hard.

Peter's Airstream approach is a good one: "Hi, I am confused and need help. I want to store my Airstream trailer on property I want to purchase and can't buy the house if I can't keep my Airstream there."

These guys went into gov't work because they do want to help or they can't get a construction job. Either way they are told by the boss they are there to help people. Some places combine all the permits in one office and, if so, that may speed up the process.

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:02 AM   #40
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Excellent...you all are UBER helpful.....I have a pretty clear vision of what I'll need to do....shall I bring those folks a fruitcake or something as well to gain favor?
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:18 AM   #41
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shall I bring those folks a fruitcake or something as well to gain favor?
A fruitcake may not be a good idea. They do make good doorstops, however.

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #42
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Honestly, the only way that you are going to get this topic satisfied is for you to go to you municipal hall and visit with the person(s) who can answer your questions.
Exactly! And keep in mind there may be more than one jurisdiction involved. For example, when we wanted to expand our driveway, I first had to get approval through the county, THEN get approval from the city.
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