Sometimes people step over the line in what they say or do. It might be a minor issue, or perhaps not. It may be unprofessional, or even unethical or illegal.
And sometimes it’s not just about people but things. Like a fence. And it killed the sale.
Some years ago I had an out-of-area buyer who was interested in buying a lot to build a home on in a semi-rural area, one that offered some views. We found a great lot, about 1 acre, on a hill about 10 miles inland, with great views of the mountains and hills plus a distant ocean view. The lot was located between 2 other homes on a private street of fairly expensive custom properties.
An offer was made and negotiated, escrow opened, and we started our due diligence.
I recommended the buyer pay for a survey as one did not exist, and that was completed. It was not inexpensive but well worthwhile, as you’ll see.
That’s when we learned the neighbor’s fence to the west (an out of area owner) was encroaching on the vacant lot, and significantly so. The surveyor estimated 1500 – 2000 SF of the vacant lot was on the neighbors’ side of the fence.
In addition, based on the plotting of the easements for utilities it appeared that the neighbors’ water line ran through the vacant lot to the house.
As things progressed I advised the buyer to consult a real estate attorney, since the buyer wanted to have the seller pursue having the neighbor relocate the fence, or possibly doing so after closing. The seller talked with the neighbors but they did not want to take down or relocate the wrought iron fence that had been in place for a number of years.
The question was raised with the seller…why not just take the fence down that is encroaching without the neighbors’ permission? Other suggestions were made by the buyer in consultation with his attorney as a way to resolve the matter.
But the buyer was not willing – wisely – to close without the fence issue being addressed, despite the request to do so from the seller.
Ultimately buyer and seller could not come to an agreement about the encroachment and the transaction was canceled.
It was a good lesson both in terms of the value of a survey and working with an attorney due to potential risks and legal questions regarding the encroachment.
This is my first entry in the ActiveRain March 2023 Challenge, "March to a Solution."
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
The problem here was that the neighbor erected a fence without checking on the property line. And the seller bought the lot without checking on the location of neighbor's fence.