On this page, you will find anything I have posted that I find interesting or helpful to you as a consumer. 

April 30, 2022

What is a final walk-through/

What is a Final Walk-through?

Final walkthroughs aren't home inspections. They're not a time to begin negotiations with the seller to do repairs or add a contingency to the sale. The primary purpose of a final walkthrough is to make certain that the property is in the condition in which you agreed to buy it, including whether agreed-on repairs, if any, were made, and that nothing has gone wrong with the home since you last looked at it. A final walkthrough is performed before the settlement of the home buying transaction. Buyers are often pressed for time as the transaction closing date draws near, so they might be tempted to pass on this opportunity. But many issues can come up, and it's never a good idea to skip the final walkthrough.

Vacant Home Issues

Sellers often move out of their homes before closing, and it's even more imperative that buyers conduct a final walkthrough in situations where the seller has already vacated the residence. Problems tend to arise when homes sit vacant for any period. For example, termite companies plug shower drains.1 They may use paper and let the water run when they test showers. A small drip can turn into a flooded bathroom if the termite inspector neglects to remove all the paper over the drain and doesn't completely turn off the shower handle. Disconnecting refrigerators connected to the house water line and moving out washing machines can also cause floods. Old plumbing that hasn't been used for a while can spring leaks.

Why does a final walkthrough matter?

Suppose you're purchasing the home of a local sportswriter who's been transferred to another city. They left shortly after putting the home on the market. The home inspection went smoothly. The inspector didn't note any items that required immediate attention. In fact, there was nothing about this situation that was cause for alarm. Your agent advises you to turn on all the lights, run the water, and make sure the stove works when you conduct the final walkthrough, but you're engrossed in other spur-of-the-moment distractions and all that "new home" excitement. Instead of heeding your agent's advice, you discuss sofa placement and which window treatments you should buy for the living room. Luckily, your agent attended the walkthrough with you. They wandered around the house, turning on water fixtures, and hit the handle on the toilet. Flush! A geyser of water almost simultaneously gushes from the ground in the backyard, and it smells. Your agent's flushing action revealed that the sewer line had tree roots growing in it. You receive an estimate of $5,000 the next day to fix the sewer. Your agent should be able to withhold that money from the seller's proceeds. You could end up paying more for a home if you don't do a walkthrough because you'll have to absorb the cost of any repairs if you don't get the seller to reduce the home's price as compensation. The walkthrough serves as a final check for any remaining, unresolved issues with the home.

Follow this checklist to ensure you don't overlook any steps.

1. Turn on and off every light fixture.
2. Run water and check for leaks under sinks.
3. Test all appliances.
4. Check garage door openers.
5. Open and close all doors.
6. Flush toilets.
7. Inspect ceilings, walls, and floors.
8. Run garbage disposal & exhaust fans.
9. Test the heating and air conditioning.
10. Open and close windows.
11. Make sure all debris has been removed from the home.
12. When the Home Is Occupied sometimes, sellers don't move out until the day the transaction closes, or even for a few days after closing. In this case, buyers should do a final walkthrough in the presence of the seller in these situations because the seller knows all the quirks of the home and should be able to answer any questions the buyers might have.
13. A good question to ask a seller is, "What is the one improvement you've always wanted to make but never got around to implementing?" This is also a good time to ask the seller for a forwarding address so you can send mail if necessary. It's smart to stay on good terms with the seller, although buyers rarely meet the sellers in some parts of the country. The final walkthrough can provide an excellent opportunity for all parties to say hello.
14. Check for any trash left behind or property that shouldn’t be there.
16. Make sure all realty items are still present, such as curtains, curtain rods, security systems,

plants, patio coverings, lights, fans, media equipment, and more!
17. Make sure all non-realty items that were negotiated are still present. Such as washer and dryer, fridge, patio furniture, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. When is the final walkthrough?
A. Typically, you'll do the final walkthrough after the seller has moved out, about 24 hours prior to closing. It's designed to be a final chance for you to check that the home is delivered in the condition you expected before you sign off at the closing.
Q. What can buyers demand at a final walkthrough?
A. You can't raise new issues at the final walkthrough that are not already part of the sale contract. You've already worked through the inspection and any contingencies earlier in the process. At the final walkthrough, you are simply ensuring that all expectations have been met and the home is delivered in the condition you previously agreed to.

Q. How long does a final walkthrough take?
A. final walkthrough can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the home and the issues you may discover. Remember that this is one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make, so it's important not to rush the walkthrough.

Posted in Buyer, The Process
April 9, 2022


Rebecca Wooten SOuLDIT.com by Rebecca Wooten

March 16, 2022

11 Ways to Save Money on Gas

Why are gas prices so high and how can you save?!

11 Ways to Save Money on Gas

1. Shop around for the best gas prices.
Sure, sometimes you’re riding on empty and you’ve got to get gas as quick as possible. But if you plan ahead, you can really save money on gas. One way is to use an app like GasBuddy that searches your local area to find the cheapest gas prices around. Or you can pay attention on your way to and from work or the kids’ school to see what places offer the best price.
2. Combine your errands.
Don’t make a special trip to get milk when you can just pick it up on the way home from work. You can cut back on trips to the grocery store in general by meal planning and keeping a list of all the household essentials you need. The fewer trips out, the less you pay in gas.
3. Use that cruise control.
Stumped on how to save gas while driving on the open road? If you’re spending lots of time on the interstate, here’s a simple tip: Turn on your cruise control and save on gasoline and leg cramps.
4. Keep your tires inflated.
There’s a savings myth out there that over-inflating your tires can save you money on gas. The reality is, this is a bit of a Goldilocks situation. Over-inflating doesn’t help anything, and under-inflating can actually hurt your gas mileage. But nailing the recommended tire pressure for your car is like that perfect bowl of porridge—just right. And those just-right savings will add up over time.
5. Ditch the extra weight.
Take everything off your roof rack and unpack the trunk or cargo space. Turns out, the more your car is weighed down, the harder your engine has to work to lug all your junk around. And a harder-working engine is a gas-guzzling engine. So, clean out your car, and enjoy less clutter and fewer trips to the gas station. Who knew figuring out how to save on gas was as simple as getting all the junk out of your car.
6. Join gas rewards programs.
Hear us loud and clear: We aren’t talking about credit card “reward” points here. (Ew.) We mean that your grocery store may offer gas rewards—discounts on gasoline for buying stuff you have to buy anyway. You might have to sign up for a rewards card, but these are often 100% free and 100% worth it. Cheaper gas from the place you already go to stock up on snacks? Yes, please.
7. Join a warehouse membership.
Here’s how to save on gas with money you’re probably already spending at those bulk-buy stores (you know the ones). Some warehouse stores offer lower gas prices to members. Now, that membership will cost you something, but if you’re already a member, you might as well take advantage of that extra savings. And if you’re not a member, before you commit to anything, be sure the annual fee is worth it to save money on gas and other things (like all that bulk cereal shopping).
8. Stop buying premium.
Unless you have a fancy car with a manual that says it needs premium gas, the regular unleaded gas option works just fine. Switching to regular gas is probably the easiest way to save 20­ to 60 cents per gallon, and most drivers don’t even notice the difference. Just be sure you double-check that premium gas isn’t a deal breaker for your car­—or else things could get ugly.
9. Pay with cash.
Cash is king—even at the pump! Some gas stations charge a lower price per gallon if you pay with cash­. It’s their way of skipping the processing fees. Sure, you’ll have to actually walk some extra steps to pay the cashier, but it’s worth it if you can save a few bucks every time you fill up.
10. Fill up earlier in the week (and never on weekends).
Monday is typically the cheapest day of the week to fill up your tank.10 If you can’t make it on Monday, try for Tuesday or Wednesday. And whatever you do, avoid the gas station on Friday­­, Saturday and Sunday if you want to save money on gas.
11. Turn your car off while waiting.
Here’s a simple way to save money on gas—turn the car off when you’re not actually driving it. Think about it. You’re sitting in your car for 5, 10, maybe even 15 minutes waiting on someone else to get in—and probably jamming out to your favorite song. We’ve all been there. But next time, turn the car off. Keeping your car running wastes gas­ even if you’re not driving anywhere!
What to Do With the Money You Save on Gas
Okay, so you’re saving cash with those tips. Great! Now what should you do with the extra money? We’re glad you asked. Saving money on gas is an awesome way to make a small change with your money that can lead to big results. And to get there, we’re going to pull from our 7 Baby Steps—the proven plan for ditching debt, saving for emergencies, and building wealth!
1. Save it.
Having extra money in the budget every month is a beautiful feeling. But don’t ignore it or you’ll spend it here and there without even noticing. The first thing you should do with any extra money is save up a starter emergency fund (if you don’t already have one). That’s $1,000 in savings as a safety net for when life happens. Once
you’ve got this
, jump into our second step.
2. Pay off debt.
Debt keeps you and your money living in the past. You can’t get ahead when you’re paying off something from last month—or last year. So, once you’ve got your starter emergency fund, put any extra money toward paying off debt with the debt snowball method. Because being stuck in the past is bad for your hairstyle, your relationships and your money.
3. Save even more.
Once you’re debt-free, it’s back to saving until you’ve got a fully funded emergency fund of 3–6 months of expenses. Then you’ll be ready for even bigger unexpected life moments—like a job loss, an emergency root canal, or a storm blowing the roof of your house away.
4. Invest it.
When you’ve got solid savings, you should start investing 15% of your take-home pay. Retirement is coming—so be ready for it!
5. Budget it.
You need to budget for whatever extra cash you get from using these gas savings tips. Don’t worry—a budget’s a great thing. It lets you tell your money where to go! Oh, the power.
Get ready to make saving money (on gas and in life!) a no-brainer. Our free easy-to-use budgeting app, EveryDollar, makes budgeting a cinch. So, are we pumped about those gas prices going up? Nope, not a chance. But you can tackle them head on by having your budget ready to go.
You’ve got this
Article CREDIT:
Ramsey Solutions
Jan. 12, 2022

How to apply for a homestead exemption


Nov. 17, 2021




Earnest Money:
A check or money order made out to the title company to show the sellers a good faith commitment to the contract. 

Home Inspection: Examination of the home's condition. 

Performed by a qualified home inspector of your choice. Pending: When a property has a mutually accepted offer between buyer and seller and is in the closing process. Appraisal: Property valuation completed by an appraiser who determines the market value. Can take 2 - 4 weeks. Closing Costs: Fees paid at the end of a transaction either by the seller, buyer, or both. They include the taxes, insurance, and other lender expenses. 


Consult with a mortgage lender and get pre-qualified. Contact your REALTOR® and let them know you've been pre-approved. 

Let's go shopping!! 

Make an offer! 

Accept or counteroffer & sign for mutual acceptance. 

Surrender earnest money check to escrow. 

Give option period check to seller. 

Schedule an inspection. 

Request any repairs from seller. 

Verify repairs have been completed. 

Lender will order appraisal. 

Signing with lender for funding. 

Signing at escrow for title. 


Zillow is your friend. But not your best friend. Websites like Zillow and Trulia are wonderful tools when searching for a home. However, "Zestimates" can be very deceiving and not every home on the market is advertised on Zillow. Talk to your REALTOR® about getting set up on a search with your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to have the most accurate and up to date information about available homes on the market. Pictures say 1000 words, but they aren't always telling the whole story. Pictures are taking over the world. However, when it comes to house hunting, a picture is not going to convey noise level from the street or if the neighbors are raising roosters. Make sure to set up an appointment to tour the property with your REALTOR® so you can experience the home outside of the pictures. Don't judge a house by the curb appeal. 

It's only natural to avoid unpleasant things. However, the exterior isn't everything. The house may fit your entire wish list and have some great upgrades inside. Watering the lawn and giving the home a fresh coat of paint is a relatively low cost that could save you thousands at purchase! Beware the scammer. t's no secret there are dishonest people in this world. If you're using websites like Craigslist or social media for house hunting, make sure to check with your REALTOR® that the listing is the real deal and have them contact the sellers. 


Closing costs are simply the fees associated with purchasing a home, borrowing money, and preparing paperwork to finalize the sale. Your total closing costs will vary depending on where your new home is located, what type of property you are buying, the price of your home, and the complexity of the transaction. It is extremely important that you work closely with your buyer’s representative in the early stages of your home search to estimate what these costs could be, since closing costs can easily represent thousands of dollars. 



If you want to reduce the ongoing cost of your mortgage over the life of the loan, you’ll want to consider this optional fee. Amounts can vary significantly, from 0.5 to 3 points on the total mortgage amount. This is a one-time charge that is fully deductible as mortgage interest. 


This generally includes a variety of fees such as the loan origination fee, the appraisal fee, and the cost of credit reports. Other related closing fees may include hazard and mortgage insurance, and interest accrued on the mortgage between closing date and the end of the month. 


You will have to pay for any research involving public records and title history for your new property. This ensures that the title is unencumbered by other ownership claims or liens and can be delivered to you at closing. Other costs include recording and transfer fees, which cover legally recording the deed to your name. "Unexpected Costs When Buying a Home"

Posted in Buyer, The Process
Oct. 16, 2021

The Right to Terminate Due to Lender’s Appraisal

The Right to Terminate Due to Lender’s Appraisal

Last year TREC promulgated a new form that allows a buyer to alter the existing Third-Party Financing Addendum. The Third-Party Financing Addendum permits a buyer to cancel the contract up to 3 days prior to closing if the property does not appraise for the sales price.  The new Addendum Concerning Right to Terminate Due to Lender’s Appraisal can be used to eliminate this cancellation contingency.  This form should only be used if the Third-Party Financing addendum is being used and it cannot be used on FHA or VA loans.  

This form is intended to strengthen a buyer’s offer to give the buyer a competitive advantage.  In the form, there are three options.  Assume for this Closer’s Corner that all other cancellation contingencies in the contract have expired.  

Option One: 

If a buyer chooses this option, they are no longer able to terminate the contract due to the property not appraising for the sales price without losing their earnest money.  To close, the buyer will have to bring the difference between the sales price and the appraised value to closing in cash.  This option should be reserved for buyers that have the option to pay cash or have sufficient resources to pay any amount over the contract price.   

Option Two:

This option allows the buyer to set a maximum amount of cash over the sales price that they can contribute to the sale.  

For example, assume the listing price is $500,000 and the final contract was agreed to at $575,000.  Your buyer only has an additional $50,000 to put into the transaction.  If the buyer puts $550,000 in Paragraph 2(ii), they would be able to terminate only if the property did not appraise for at least $550,000.  If the property appraised anywhere between $550,000 and $575,000, they would be obligated to close and bring the additional funds to closing or lose their earnest money.  Let’s assume it appraised for $560,000. The buyer would have to bring the difference between the sales price ($575,000) and the appraised value ($560,000) to closing in cash which would be $15,000 plus their down payment and closing costs.  If the property is appraised for $549,999 then they can cancel the contract and keep their earnest money.

Option Three:

Posted in Buyer, The Process
Oct. 16, 2021

10 Common Title Problems

Have you ever wondered why you need title insurance? Your home may be new to you, but every property has a history. A title search can help uncover title defects tied to your property. And, subject to the terms of the policy, your title insurance may provide you with protection from title problems discovered after you close your transaction. Some of these common title issues are:

1Errors in public records

To err is human, but when it affects your homeownership rights, those mistakes can be devastating. Clerical or filing errors could affect the deed or survey of your property and cause undo financial strain in order to resolve them.

2Unknown liens

Prior owners of your property may not have been meticulous bookkeepers — or bill payers. And even though the former debt is not your own, banks or other financing companies can place liens on your property for unpaid debts even after you have closed on the sale. This is an especially worrisome issue with distressed properties.

3Illegal deeds

While the chain of title on your property may appear perfectly sound, it's possible that a prior deed was made by an undocumented immigrant, a minor, a person of unsound mind, or one who is reported single but in actuality married. These instances may affect the enforceability of prior deeds, affecting prior (and possibly present) ownership.

4Missing heirs

When a person dies, the ownership of his home may fall to his heirs or those named within his will. However, those heirs are sometimes missing or unknown at the time of death. Other times, family members may contest the will for their own property rights. These scenarios — which can happen long after you have purchased the property — could affect your rights to the property.


Unfortunately, we don't live in a completely honest world. Sometimes forged or fabricated documents that affect property ownership are filed within public records, obscuring the rightful ownership of the property. Once these forgeries come to light, your rights to your home may be in jeopardy.

6Undiscovered encumbrances

When it comes to owning a home, three can be a crowd. At the time of purchase, you may not know that a third party holds a claim to all or part of your property — due to a former mortgage or lien, or non-financial claims, like restrictions or covenants limiting the use of your property.

7Unknown easements

You may own your new home and its surrounding land, but an unknown easement may prohibit you from using it as you'd like or could allow government agencies, businesses, or other parties to access all or portions of your property. While usually non-financial issues, easements can still affect your right to enjoy your property.

8Boundary/survey disputes

You may have seen several surveys of your property prior to purchasing, however, other surveys may exist that show differing boundaries. Therefore, a neighbor or other party may be able to claim ownership of a portion of your property.

9Undiscovered will

When a property owner dies with no apparent will or heir, the state may sell his or her assets, including the home. When you purchase such a home, you assume your rights as owner. However, even years later, the deceased owner's will may come to light and your rights to the property may be seriously jeopardized.

10False impersonation of the previous owner

Common and similar names can make it possible to falsely "impersonate" a property owner. If you purchase a home that was once sold by a false owner, you can risk losing your legal claim to the property. Play it Safe These and other issues are often covered by an owner's policy of title insurance. When you buy a home, make sure you're protecting that investment with title insurance.

Posted in Buyer, Seller, The Process
Oct. 16, 2021

Will Smith on Fathering

Posted in Funny Blog Posts
Oct. 16, 2021

How to Clean Your Home Before Going on the Market


Posted in Buyer, Seller, The Process
Oct. 12, 2021

Here are some of THE Worst Things About Homeowners Associations

Here are some of THE Worst Things About Homeowners Associations

If you're in the market to buy a home and are considering a house in a community governed by a homeowner's association, also called an HOA, you'll want to do your research. HOAs can have all sorts of rules and restrictions that can, to put it bluntly, make your life miserable. Or, at the very least, they can make day-to-day living inconvenient.

Pet Weight Restrictions
Having an HOA refusing to allow residents to keep an aggressive or dangerous dog breed on their property is understandable but placing weight restrictions on a pet seems silly. Russell Volk, a real estate professional with Re/Max Elite in Pennsylvania, related this story regarding some of his clients: "I was recently working with a couple who was looking to buy a home, and I found them a great house. They put the offer in, it was accepted and then the rules and regulations were ordered from the HOA. When they came in, buyers see that dogs up to 35 pounds are allowed. My buyers have a dog, which they thought was around that weight. HOA requires that every new home buyer sends them a certificate from a vet that proves [the] dog's weight. My buyers took their dog to the vet and the dog weighed at 35.5 pounds. This certificate was sent to the HOA, and they declined buyers' acceptance. They just wouldn't allow it. We tried to reason with them, but according to them, a rule is a rule. They even suggested that they put the dog on a diet.

"Demanding Garage Doors Be Left Open
Imagine being forced to leave your garage door up weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sure, there are times when having your garage door open is convenient, but what about when you're away at work? Everything you have stored in your garage will be on display and free for the taking. One homeowner's association in Auburn, California, implemented this rule after finding out a homeowner was allowing people to live in the garage. The HOA assessed a $200 fine to those who didn't comply with the rule.

Plant Restrictions
If you appreciate the value of planting native plants as part of your landscaping scheme, know that it might not fly with some HOAs. Even though Texas, Florida, and California protect a homeowner's rights to plant environmentally friendly native plants, not all states have such laws in place.

Parking Restrictions
HOA rules regarding parking restrictions aren't uncommon, but sometimes the rules are contradictory. John Frigo of e-commerce retailer Best Price Nutrition shared his story regarding parking restrictions. "At this time, I had bought a Lincoln Blackwood pickup truck. The truck wasn’t a huge truck, but it was too long to fit in my garage so I would park it in the driveway which was fine," he said. "Many people on my block parked in their driveways and there wasn’t a rule against doing so. Until one day when I got a letter from the association fining me and telling me I had to park my truck in my garage. Turns out my truck had class B plates and class B plates were not allowed to be parked in driveways. "I understand the thought behind this rule. They don’t want big ugly work trucks parked in driveways. While I personally could care less if my neighbors did this, I get the spirit behind the law. The enforcement, however, seemed to lack common sense. This truck I had was a $50,000 truck that was a sharp-looking truck; it wasn’t a blight on the neighborhood. I couldn’t park this truck in my driveway, yet my neighbors were allowed to park rusty 30-year-old conversion vans in their driveways with no issue. It’s a complete lack of common sense and a lack of being reasonable and/or accommodating in instances like this that drive me crazy about associations and is why I’ll never buy in an association again."

Trash Can Time Limits
If an HOA requires you to store your trash can out of the way when it's not a designated trash pickup day, that's not out of line. But if it requires you to build your schedule around having your trash can removed from the curb in an unreasonable amount of time after trash pickup, that's ridiculous. For example, say your trash service picks up at about 9 a.m. and your trash can must be put away by noon or you're in violation of HOA rules. What should you do — take an early lunch to run home and put the trash can in the garage?

Restrictions on Holiday Lights
If you enjoy going all out during the holidays and stringing lights from your home, trees, and hedges to spread some cheer, don't become part of an HOA unless you confirm these types of displays are allowed. Some HOAs might allow a certain number of lights, while others might restrict their use in full. Other HOAs could require that lights be a certain color, such as clear, as well.

No Weekend Home Improvements
The Houston Chronicle shared the story of one of its readers who has an HOA that doesn't allow homeowners to carry out home improvement tasks on Saturday or Sunday. Isn't that what weekends are made for? If you live in such an association and want to install gutters or replace your front door, you'll have to schedule a day off from work to get it done.

Requiring the Perfect Shade of Paint
Imagine painting your home the wrong shade of yellow and having to repaint your home at the cost of thousands of dollars. Broker Christopher Totaro of Warburg Realty in New York City had this story to tell: "A friend who lives in Florida told me about his HOA making him repaint his house after it was freshly painted because they didn’t deem the shade of yellow appropriate. The HOA bylaws stipulated that houses could not change colors because they had a carefully planned order of colors. Think every fifth home being yellow, every fourth home being white, etcetera. His home was yellow but unfortunately, the shade of yellow he used was not the specific yellow deemed appropriate. It cost him $12,000 to repaint and comply."

No Standalone Structures
Some homeowner's associations strictly forbid having structures on your property that aren't attached to the main house, such as a shed. If that's the case, you can forget about constructing a small playhouse on your property for your children to enjoy. Imagine the hours of fun your children could have playing in a miniature house in your backyard — a house that might not even be visible from the street if you have the right type of fencing. However, just because it's a structure that's not attached to your home, it wouldn't be allowed.

No Nonmatching Shingles Allowed
Some HOAs won't allow any deviation from what was there when you bought the home. For example, some HOAs require things such as the shingles on your house to match all of the other homes in the neighborhood. If you dare to replace your home's shingles with a different style or color, you risk the possibility of a fine. Plus, you'll likely have to replace the shingles to match what the HOA deems appropriate.

No Posting of Signs
Some homeowners associations allow the posting of signs in yards, as long as they meet size and content requirements. Other HOAs, however, don't allow posting of any kinds of signs — under any circumstances. This means if you're trying to sell your home, you won't be able to place the "For Sale" sign in your front yard, which will nix your ability to attract prospective buyers who just happen to drive by and spot your property.

Concrete Patterning Must Be Perfect
A planned community with a neat and orderly look can be a great place to live, but sometimes HOAs can enforce their rules in a way that defies common sense. Broker Totaro shared another story: "When my dad moved into a planned community in coastal Southern California, he thought it would be nice to live in a community that ensured properties were manicured and kept in order — until he had to rip out a brand new driveway because the contractor’s circular pattern on the finished concrete was deemed to be not pronounced enough. My dad asked the contractor to make the swirl marks not as deep because he didn’t like how abrasive it felt in bare feet and that the deeper more pronounced lines trapped more dust which necessitates more frequent washing."

Lawns Must Be Consistently Green
It makes sense that an HOA would enforce rules related to overgrown lawns, but to require that they be consistently green is a bit much. In hotter months, it's not uncommon to see lawns that are a little less green unless homeowners stay on top of watering. To have a lawn that's consistently and uniformly green, you either need to have the time to manually move lawn sprinklers around your lawn in a pattern that waters every single inch or install a sprinkler system. Constant watering can add up to a sizable water bill, and some homeowners might not be in a position to spend the money.

No Trailers
Some HOAs restrict homeowners from parking trailers of any sort — flatbed, livestock or camper, for example — in plain sight on their property, which is understandable. Otherwise, people might store their trailers by the curb in front of their home or in their driveway, which can be unsightly or restrict traffic flow. But what about people who own a camper trailer? How can they conveniently load and unload their camper if they can't park it in front of their home at least temporarily?

No Rentals
Before you buy in a community governed by a homeowners association, check to see if it allows you to rent out your home. Some HOAs do not allow rentals or subletting for a variety of reasons, including insurance. This could put you in an unfortunate position if, for example, you must move for a job transfer but have been unsuccessful in selling your home. Rental income could cover your mortgage payment, but if your HOA won't allow you to find tenants, you could wind up in a financial bind.

Recreational Equipment Must Be Out of Sight
Some HOAs have rules about keeping recreational equipment hidden away, which could mean that your children's bicycles, tricycles and battery-powered ride-on equipment can't be left on the driveway or in the front yard even while they go inside for lunch. The same rule often applies to motorized and nonmotorized watercraft and snowmobiles. If you don't have room in your garage for these items, and you can't leave them in the driveway, the alternative is to rent a storage unit.

No Blue Trampoline Covers
If you buy a trampoline for your kids, make sure the bouncing surface isn't blue. One Houston-area HOA imposes a $75 fine on residents if they have a blue trampoline surface instead of one that's green or black, according to the Houston Chronicle. Perhaps green or black blend in better with nature.

Restrictions on How You Park
This HOA rule doesn't have anything to do with parking on the street. Instead, it's how you park in your driveway. In other words, don't back in and leave the front of your car facing the road. Instead, you must pull in forward and park. If this rule makes you scratch your head, perhaps it was made in the spirit of uniformity. Whatever the reason, it still seems ridiculous.

No Smoking Anywhere
It's reasonable to have a homeowners association require that you can't smoke in public or common areas to avoid offending others. But some homeowners associations are extending the no-smoking rules to a homeowner's yard, balcony, patio or even inside the privacy of their own home. The interesting part is that some courts have ruled in favor of HOAs who implement these type of rules.

Car Washing
Your homeowner's association could deprive you of one of your great joys: washing and polishing your car in the driveway. Some associations are concerned about water usage, while others might fear soapy runoff could create hazards to people or plants. Whatever the reason, perhaps you and your neighbors could appeal to your HOA board to add a dedicated car washing area somewhere in an out-of-the-way section of the community that meets both its water-saving and drainage specifications. Otherwise, you'll need to find a local car wash — hopefully, one that offers a punch card for frequent visits.

Tip: Verify the Rules Exist
If you start getting nasty letters in your mailbox or notices on your door about HOA rules you're violating — especially ones you weren't aware of — make sure the particular rule that's being cited is listed in the HOA's rules and regulations. If it's just one overzealous board member taking you to task, you might not have to comply, according to Realtor.com.