Tuesday, December 29, 2015 / by Marion Franke
Out-of-Town Home Buyers are Shocked by These Local Real Estate Practices
In the Houston area, real estate is developed differently than other places. As a consequence, when people move from other areas of the country, they are often shocked by the effects of unregulated construction.
To be a smart buyer in Montgomery County, just north of Houston, you need to become familiar with a few terms and the way they affect your purchase.
Glossary of Terms:
Unrestricted Property: Many newcomers get excited about escaping the regulations of their old hometown. The idea of having virtually complete control over how they use their property sounds exciting freedom. What they must keep in mind is all the people surrounding you have the same freedoms. You may not like how your neighbor maintains or decorates their property.
Although a property is without restrictions, there are still regulations set out by the county that include water wells, septic systems and general development. You will want to contact the permitting department of the county before making any major changes to your property. www.co.Montgomery.tx.us
Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs): The State of Texas authorizes the creation of utility districts to provide water, sewer, drainage and other services within the boundaries of a MUD District. Payment for those services is generally based on the property value and they perform largely like other property taxes. Sometimes a MUD will be involved in conservation, firefighting, solid waste collection and disposal, among other things. The MUD rates vary greatly from one community to the next. Always no your total tax rate – including the MUD rate when you compare properties.
Independent School Districts (ISD): Most school districts in the Greater Houston area are considered “Independent”. What that means is the school operations, taxes and controls are not in the hands of any municipality. Just because a home is located in a city, it does not necessarily mean the school district boundaries follow the same parameters. For example, most (not all) of The Woodlands is in the Conroe ISD. Some portions are either in the Magnolia ISD or Tomball ISD. Since both taxes and school administration varies from one district to the next, you will want to be familiar with the ones in areas you consider.
Who is in Control of Development?
Zoning, as it is known in other areas, is non-existent in our community. Instead, each municipality and subdivision has the ability to set guidelines and controls concerning land use.
Although they have no zoning ordinance, the city of Conroe has adopted a plan for residential and commercial developments. You can find more information on their website: www.CityofConroe.org. Look for the public works department to find more information or call the city planner office at (936) 522-3098.
The Woodlands is highly regulated by deed restrictions. As a master-planned community, it is important to the residents of The Woodlands to live in a carefully designed neighborhood. You can learn more about those controls on the Township website: www.TheWoodlandsTownship-tx.gov or call (281) 210-3800.