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9 Weird, Wacky Real Estate Laws In the US
Did you know there’s a law in Arizona that says no man or woman over the age of 18 can show more than one missing tooth when smiling?
(Work on those pearly whites, Arizonians.)
Oh, and there’s a law that it’s illegal to kill a Sasquatch in Washington state.
(You’ll be safe here, Bigfoot!)
And in parts of North Carolina, it’s illegal to hold a meeting if some of the attendees are in costume.
(Sorry, Bugs, you’ll have to sit this one out.)
Yeah, it seems like there’s a crazy topic for just about everything. There are even a few doozies on the topic of real estate!
You might want to brush up on these, because no one wants to end up in the slammer for having too many toilets. (You think I’m kidding, but just wait…)
Check ‘em out:
Texas: Any and all improvements or accessories shown to buyers become the final buyer’s property at the time of sale
That’s any and all — including shelving, family photos that are attached to the wall, artwork, artificial fireplace logs, and above ground pools.
If you’re selling in Texas, better get your pen ready… you’ve got a lot of excluding to do.
(She’s probably thinking, “All this is about to be mine!”)
Arkansas: Six or more females may not live at the same property, regardless of their relationship
Yep, that even extends to big families, so four daughters is your limit in Arkansas.
This is actually good news for real estate agents, though. Because of this weird law, the next time a sorority needs a place to live, they’ll need two houses (or more)!
(Sorry, ladies. You can all wear matching headbands, but not under my roof.)
Rhode Island: No residential fence can be taller than 6 feet
They say that fences make the best neighbors, but in Rhode Island, only short fences do. Any fence taller than 6’ is considered a “spite fence” and, as such, a private nuisance.
The next time you’re looking at a Rhode Island house with questionable neighbors, just remember there’s no way to hide from them… not even behind a tall fence.
(“Let me in, neighbor!”)
Scranton, Pennsylvania: No pointed fence may be installed.
While we’re talking fences, did you know… In Scranton, Pennsylvania, buyers who envision their new lives with 2.5 kids, a dog, and white picket fence are in for a rude awakening, because this popular fencing style is against the law.
If you’re dead set on this cute, traditional look, you’re going to have to more one town over to Clarks Summit or Kingston. C’mon, look that fence. It’s worth the longer commute.
(You’re gonna have to take your home buying cliches and leave, ma’am.)
San Francisco, California: No potted plants outdoors
San Francisco may be the city of free love, but that does not extend to potted plants! In this colorful, wacky city, it might seem like anything goes, but if you leave your cherished potted succulents outside, city officials can throw them away immediately and, even worse, present you with a fine.
Got a green thumb that just can’t be stopped? Check out Daly City instead. You’ll get that lovely sea breeze and still have the right to keep the begonias outside.
(You can walk a leashed elephant down Main Street, but this is TOO FAR.)
New Jersey: No house painting on Sunday
If you’re trying to close quickly in Jersey, remember to get your exterior painting done during the week! It’s illegal to do any house painting outside on Sunday.
That’s ok! Who wants to paint on the weekends anyway?
(You’re gonna have to wait and touch that up on Monday…)
Waldron, Washington: No more than two toilets per building
Let’s just hope that no big families ever want to buy in the town of Waldron, Washington. This small island has a law on the books that strictly prohibits having more than two toilets in any given building. If you absolutely must have more bathrooms, you should probably stay on the mainland… or else.
(Here’s another solution to this weird law…)
California (again): Squatters can become the legal owners of a home without paying the seller a dime
Ah, California. With so many harsh laws, you’d think they’d have stiff punishments for what is essentially stealing a house, but no. In this state, if squatters play their cards right, they can end up living there for years… or even becoming the legal owners!
If you have a vacant property in California that winds up occupied by squatters, they can claim ownership if they live there for five years and act as owners would (as in, paying the HOA dues and property taxes).
This is all the more reason for real estate clients to sell their California homes, or at the very least, rent them out using a qualified property management agent to make sure everything is done the right way.
(Lock it up, or no takesies-backsies!)
Ridgeland, Mississippi: No burglar bars outside your house
If you’re in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and you’re working with a buyer who wants a little more home security, you might encourage them to get a German Shepard, because this small city has said NO! to installing burglar bars outside your home.
We get it, burglar bars aren’t pretty. If you absolutely must have them, you can always put them on the inside of the windows. Or if you like being able to open the windows and get fresh air from time to time, you can just go ahead and get the dog instead.
(Look at that sweet face!)
Boulder, Colorado: No upholstered furniture outdoors
It’s legal to spark up a doob in Boulder, Colorado, but it’s NOT legal to sit on a sofa on your patio while smoking it. That’s because all upholstered furniture — couches, chairs, chaise lounges, you name it — is prohibited outdoors.
If you’re looking for somewhere to live the outdoor life of your dreams, Boulder ain’t it… unless you don’t mind hard chairs.
(Welcome to Boulder. Please take a (hard) seat.)
So there you have it: nine weird, wacky real estate laws.
Remember these the next time you go to buy or sell a home. Or better yet, share this article with your friends and save them from bad real estate decisions, too.