The Pros and Cons of Buying Unrestricted Land in North Carolina

Unrestricted land is land without covenants. This can be attractive to prospective buyers as it means they have the freedom and flexibility to do what they’d like with their property. That may sound good, but be aware that there are some cons that exist. This video discusses the pros and cons of buying and living on restricted land.

Speaker 1:           What are some of the pros and cons of unrestricted land?

Speaker 2:           Unrestricted land. This is one of the things that we get a ton of calls on and I don’t think people really understand what unrestricted land means. Unrestricted land means that it is not encumbered by covenants. One of the first things: you can build a house on it, you could put a double wide on it, you could put a single wide on it, you can park your RV there.

Speaker 1:           You can go hunting on it.

Speaker 2:           You can go hunting on it, yeah. Well, if it’s not in town, you can go hunting on it. It just means there are no deed restrictions to the land. It does not mean that there’s not zoning restrictions to the land. So there can be county zoning in the area. Most of rural land in Chatham County is zone Residential Agricultural.

That means there’s still a lot of freedom and flexibility, but if something is owned Residential Agricultural, that doesn’t mean that you can park all your grading equipment there. And people are like, “Well, it’s my land, its unrestricted”, no that would need a conditional use permit or a special use permit to park grading equipment out there. If it’s your house and you’re living there, and you own a company that has grading equipment, and you wish to park your grading equipment at your house, well, that’s okay. But people try to get tricky and have their supervisor live at a little brick ranch and then park 20 bulldozers out there. You’re not going to get away with that. And the county is cracking down on that. So, the pros of the unrestricted land is: it has potential to be subdivided, there’s no homeowner’s association, there’s no architectural review – you can build whatever you want to build.

We have neighborhoods in Chatham County, people tell you what time you’re allowed to mow. No one’s going to tell you what time. There are no covenants, there are no deed restrictions on that property. That sounds wonderful, great. I hate subdivisions. I hate homeowner’s associations. I am a Libertarian, free American, and I want to do exactly what I want to do on my property. That’s fine and for the most part you can do that, but an unrestricted property does have some cons to it. And one of the cons that we talk about is if you have an unrestricted property, you need to know that if you’re allowed to do those things, your neighbor’s allowed to do those things as well.

Speaker 1:           So your neighbor could have a kennel.

Speaker 2:           We have a lot of things that we consider detrimental to property values. I have two dogs. I love dogs. I’m not an anti-dog guy, but in my former life, I used to live nextdoor to a guy that had 25 beagles. I had a hundred acres in the middle of nowhere, but I lived nextdoor, and the guy was at least a quarter mile, a half mile away. Twenty-five beagles are loud. I mean being next to a kennel ruins your quiet enjoyment. But then we’ve had actual kennels come in nextdoor to people and everybody’s dog is different and you get a new crowd of dogs and they’re all barking at each other. And so that does change. We have people that put in firing ranges. That might actually require some kind of conditional use permit for actual people coming to shoot, but if somebody owns 20 acres and they make a berm and they want to shoot targets, they’re allowed to shoot targets all day long. And so then you’re going to have that next to you.

If you have unrestricted land you could be next to a piece of property that later on gets approved for a rock quarry, and that wouldn’t be all that great. We have a lot of agricultural going around here. Siler City has a chicken processing plant. So we have chicken houses. Chicken houses for the most part are fine, but they are cleaned out several times a year and if it is a hot humid day you will know the day that they’re cleaning them out. Cause I mean, it literally smells for half a mile around. It’s certainly unfair for you to move nextdoor to the chicken houses or nextdoor to an area that you know is Residential and Agricultural, well specifically Agricultural, that’s just how these people make their livelihood. It’s zoned Agricultural and we eat chicken. We need the chicken. I mean, Siler City is processing the chickens. So it’s unfair to move into these areas and then expect you have an unrestricted property, but you have to be aware that your neighbor is unrestricted as well.