Real Estate Laws for Homebuyers

Real Estate Laws

The real estate market can be a complex and daunting arena for prospective homebuyers. While most people are aware of common real estate laws, such as zoning regulations and property taxes, lesser-known laws can significantly impact the home-buying process. This article highlights some of these lesser-known real estate laws that every homebuyer should consider before making a purchase.


An easement is a legal right to use another person’s land for a specific purpose. Homebuyers should be aware of any easements that exist on a property, as they can limit the use and enjoyment of the land. Examples of easements include rights-of-way for access, utility lines, and drainage systems. Reviewing the title report and consulting with an attorney to understand the scope and implications of any easements before purchasing a property is crucial.

Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants are private agreements that limit the use of land or dictate specific conditions for property development. Common examples include restrictions on building materials, architectural styles, and property use (e.g., prohibiting commercial activities in a residential area). These covenants may be in place to maintain the aesthetic appeal of a neighborhood or ensure a particular standard of living. Buyers should review the property’s title report and consult with an attorney to understand any restrictive covenants and their implications.

Historic Preservation Laws

Properties located within designated historic districts may be subject to additional regulations and restrictions. These laws are in place to preserve the historical integrity of buildings and neighborhoods. Buyers should research whether a property is within a historic district and understand the implications of owning a historic property. This may include restrictions on exterior modifications, additional permitting requirements, and potential tax incentives for preservation efforts.

Environmental Regulations

Environmental laws can have a significant impact on property development and use. For example, properties located within designated wetlands, floodplains, or conservation areas may be subject to additional restrictions and permitting requirements. Buyers should investigate whether a property is subject to environmental regulations and consult with an attorney or environmental consultant to understand the implications.

Community Associations

Many residential communities have homeowners’ associations (HOAs) or condominium associations that enforce rules and regulations governing property use and maintenance. These associations often have governing documents, such as declarations, bylaws, and rules and regulations, that outline the responsibilities and rights of property owners. Buyers should review these documents and understand the fees, rules, and potential restrictions associated with living in a community governed by an association.

Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is a legal doctrine allowing a person to claim ownership of another’s property if they have occupied and maintained it for a certain period without the owner’s permission. While this may seem like an obscure and unlikely issue, it is essential for homebuyers to ensure that the property they are purchasing is free from any adverse possession claims. This can be achieved by thoroughly examining and purchasing title insurance.

Riparian Claims

A riparian claim refers to the rights and privileges associated with owning or utilizing waterfront properties along rivers, streams, or other bodies of water. In the context of New Jersey’s waterfront properties, riparian claims hold significant importance. These claims grant property owners certain rights, such as access to the water, the ability to construct docks or piers, and the right to enjoy the scenic views and recreational opportunities provided by the waterfront. However, riparian claims in New Jersey can be complex due to historical legal precedents and regulations. Property owners must navigate a framework that balances public and private interests, ensuring responsible development and environmental conservation. Understanding and asserting riparian claims is crucial for waterfront property owners in New Jersey, as they play a pivotal role in determining land use, access, and enjoyment of the state’s valuable water resources.


When buying a home it is crucial to understand the lesser-known real estate laws that can affect property ownership and use. Buyers can make informed decisions and avoid potential legal pitfalls by researching and consulting with professionals, such as real estate attorneys and environmental consultants. Awareness of these laws can help buyers find the perfect property that meets their needs and expectations, ensuring a successful and enjoyable homeownership experience.


The content on this site, provided by Able Wealth Management, is purely informational. While we aim for accuracy and completeness, we cannot guarantee the exactness of the information presented. The views and analyses expressed in this blog represent those of the authors at Able Wealth Management. They should not be considered as investment advice or endorsement of any particular financial instrument or strategy. Any references to specific securities and their performance are purely informational and should not be taken as advice to buy or sell.Before implementing any information or ideas presented, we strongly advise consulting with a financial advisor, accountant, or legal counsel. Investing carries inherent risks, including potential capital loss. Asset values can fluctuate over time and may be worth more or less than the original investment. Past performance does not guarantee future results, and Able Wealth Management cannot ensure that your financial goals will be achieved. Information from third-party sources has not been independently verified by Able Wealth Management. Although we trust these sources, we cannot assure their accuracy or completeness.

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Volatility Drag

Volatility drag, often unnoticed by many investors, plays a significant role in the performance of investment portfolios, especially in markets characterized by high volatility. Understanding volatility drag is crucial for making informed investment decisions and managing long-term investment performance.

Understanding Volatility Drag

Volatility drag refers to the negative effect of investment volatility on compound returns over time. It occurs because losses have a more significant impact on portfolio value than gains of the same magnitude. For example, if an investment loses 10% one year and gains 10% the next, the investment will not return to its starting value due to the mathematical asymmetry between gains and losses. This phenomenon underscores the importance of minimizing large fluctuations in investment value to protect long-term returns.

The Mathematics Behind Volatility Drag

The mathematical principle underlying volatility drag is relatively straightforward but profound in its implications for investors. The key concept is that percentage gains and losses are not symmetrical. A 50% loss requires a 100% gain to break even, not a 50% gain. This asymmetry means that volatility (up and down movements in price) can erode the compound growth rate of an investment, even if the arithmetic mean of the returns seems healthy.

Example of Volatility Drag

Consider an investment with the following annual returns: +20%, -15%, +10%, and -5%. While the arithmetic mean of these returns might suggest a modest positive performance, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) would tell a different story, factoring in the volatility drag and showing a lower effective return than the arithmetic mean would suggest.

Implications for Investors

  • Risk Management: Understanding volatility drag emphasizes the importance of risk management strategies, such as diversification and the use of derivatives for hedging, to minimize significant downturns in portfolio value.
  • Investment Strategy: Investors might consider investment strategies that aim for steady, consistent returns over those with potentially higher but more volatile returns. Such strategies might include investing in low-volatility stocks, index funds, or using dollar-cost averaging to mitigate the impact of market fluctuations.
  • Psychological Aspects: Volatility drag also highlights the psychological challenge for investors who may overreact to short-term market movements. A long-term perspective is crucial for successful investing, as frequent trading in response to volatility can exacerbate the drag on returns.
  • Performance Evaluation: When assessing investment performance, considering both the arithmetic mean return and the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) can provide a more comprehensive view of an investment’s performance, factoring in the effect of volatility.

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