or How Google Maps and Satellite Images Helped Me
A few years back I purchased a vacant lot in Goose Lake Estates during a Modoc County tax lien sale. Goose Lake is Northern California right on the Oregon border. In fact, the lake is something like 2/3 in California and 1/3 in Oregon. Its a very big lake, but also VERY shallow with a maximum depth of 24 feet.
[image from wikipedia] After I purchased this parcel I used google maps to pinpoint its exact location. Then I zoomed in it and hit the button for satellite image and noticed what looked like a fence that extended WAY into my property from the neighboring property to the south. I said to my wife "it looks like the neighbor has built a fence around his property and extended right into the property I purchased." So decided to take a trip up there and check it out and sure enough, just like in the satellite image the neighbor's his fence extended maybe 100 ft onto a prime portion of my newly acquired property. Well I went over to pay a visit with my neighbor, whom I had never met. He had his fence shut so I just sat there for awhile and I think I honked my horn once or twice. I could see he was home but he wouldn't bother to come out and speak with me. I'm sure he saw me walking the property and figured what was up and didn't want to address the issue.
Well, just over the border in New Pine Creek is a little general store. You know this is one of those fishbowl communities where everybody knows everybody else (and their business). You know the kind - country folk who say : " oh yes, we all know BillyBob, you can trust him with a dollar, but not your daughter!"
So I go to this little store and tell the folks my problem and where my property is located and they are able to quickly figure out who my neighbor was (wont say what they said about him) AND gave me his phone number AND let me call him from there.
Well, I call my neighbor, identify myself, and explain the situation to him. He tells me he believes he owns the property by virtue of how long the fence was there and I explain to him a few details of real estate law to illumine him. I told him that I would sell him the property for $600.00 more than I paid for it and he told me that property was only worth about half that to him, so I got him to agree that it wasnt worth what it would cost for him to defend himself legally against a lawsuit by me and he agreed. He also agreed to remove the fence by an agreed upon time. After the time lapsed I called him and asked him if had removed the fence and he said "yes".
I didn't want to make another trip up there to verify that he did, in fact, remove the fence so I hired an engineer to survey the property, place stakes, and notify me if there were any encroachments. According to the surveyor their was no encroachment on my property. Cost: around $800.00
Thank You Google for the valuable tool!
Owner / Broker Lazarus Realty