Many real estate developments have established architectural committees which must approve new home designs or preferred builders. This can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. Remember, when you buy into a community association that has restrictions, rules and regulations, and an architectural committee, you must understand that you have opted for community living. Decisions cannot be made unilaterally, nor can the rules and regulations of the association be ignored unilaterally. Although architectural controls have a purpose, boards of directors of community associations must recognize that the architectural committee cannot be a dictator, arbitrarily rendering decisions. They too must follow the rules.
Here are some questions: 1) Who makes up the architectural committee? 2) What makes the people on the architectural committee think that they are qualified to make decisions? 3) What qualifications do these people on the committee actually have? 4) What are the term limits?
Who makes up the architectural committee? This committee is usually composed of the developer, sales staff, home owners, etc. and most are just volunteers. This committee monitors what will be built and maintained in the subdivision, or what builders can come in and become a preferred builder. They can conduct on-site visits, have initial reviews with home owners and builders, and ultimately make the final approval on the submitted home plans, remodels, landscaping, outbuildings, and more.
What qualifications do these people on the committee actually have? This is the question I have a problem with. What qualifications does someone have to review a potential builder to see if they can get on their preferred list for new land owners to use in building their homes? Have they had training, hands on building, any experience, certifications, etc.? Most of the time, the answer will be no. Can these people just follow the basic guidelines in enforcement? My answer would be yes, providing they are operating and following those initial restrictions set forth by the original developer or home owners association.
What are the term limits? The folks serving on the architectural committee can vary in the number of years they serve. Again this is all set forth in the initial restrictions by the original developer or the homeowners association. Once a homeowners association is formed and the developer is out of the picture, the rules can be changed based on a voting process. You normally do not want a person serving 10 years. There have been stories that this person then becomes the controller or dictator. You need to work as a team.
In my final conclusions, I would recommend an architectural committee to help enforce and maintain your neighborhood and would highly suggest getting active with it. But I still question the abilities of those who are on an architectural committee in a subdivision determining which builders to allow on their preferred builders list. I still wonder if some builders actually pay to get on this preferred list, which has been known to occur. I suggest, checking out a builder for yourself. Check their website, Chamber, prior clients, etc. It is your home, not the architectural committee’s home. As always, protect yourself and do your homework.
For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to debbie@vallone realestate.net.