propety line issues

TriciaAugust 25, 2009

We had the retaining wall on the driveway side of the house replaced last year. The brick work is now a couple feet onto the neighbors property. I see two remedies for this. One, is to rip out the wall and rebuild it. Not a pleasant thought.

The second, only slightly more appealing, is to purchase that amount of property from the neighbors. I am wondering as to the process for this. Would I have a survey company survey both our properties, redraw the property to reflect a new line and submit the documentation for both properties to the county to change the lot lines? Or do I need to go to the county first?

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susana_2006

What does your neighbor want? Are you assuming you have to do anything at all? Did your contractor follow instructions?
I think that you are going to need to see a lawyer.

In 1970 my father put up a fence between his and his neighbor's land. He erred on putting the fence more on his own land -- no big deal -- there was only good relations with the neighbors. I think the neighbors got about 2 feet extra (this was a big lot, so no problem).

When my folks died & I needed to sell the property, it was funny that some of the buyers were questioning this fence (as if it would make any difference on 13,000 sq. foot lots).

Anyway, on another issue I did need to get a lot line removed and it was such a major hassle with the city required survey etc. etc.

If the neighbors are uncooperative, it could well be easier to have the wall replaced. Although if I were your neighbor, I'd rather give you an easement for a really strong retaining wall, than to have my property wash away.

I think your first stop is to see a real estate attorney pronto.
Good luck
Susan

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 10:12PM
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eandhl

If the driveway is only up so far on the property depth there is one win-win solution. Maybe your neighbor would be willing to swap the 2 ft by XXXX ft in the front of the property for same size dimension on back property border. Good for neighbor, they get more road frontage, good for you as you put no more money into it.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 7:03AM
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ncrealestateguy

You could have a new survey done, and have an attorney draw up a Perpetual Easement. Both parties have to agree.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 7:30AM
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sylviatexas1

or you can say to the neighbor, "here's your retaining wall. Have fun maintaining it!"

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 12:01PM
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berniek

"You could have a new survey done, and have an attorney draw up a Perpetual Easement. Both parties have to agree."

That might work if everyone agrees.
Exclusive or non-exclusive easement will make a difference in value to be conveyed. Market value and adjustment for type of easement is determined by either an appraiser, or CMA of land without improvements, depending on value (I use $5k or above to require appraisal).
However, it will only grant you the use, not ownership. (remember, owner pays taxes)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 8:46PM
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sparksals

susana - When my folks died & I needed to sell the property, it was funny that some of the buyers were questioning this fence (as if it would make any difference on 13,000 sq. foot lots).

It makes a lot of difference to a buyer. I would want to know if adverse possession was an issue. It is a legit question to ask if a fence is on the line or inside it when buying a home. Doesn't matter the size of property.. I want to know how much will be mine and if I need to take steps to ensure it stays that way.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 2:24AM
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dreamgarden

susana_2006-"What does your neighbor want? Are you assuming you have to do anything at all? Did your contractor follow instructions?
I think that you are going to need to see a lawyer."

Good questions. I'm curious to know what the neighbors think. Plus, whoever replaced the retaining wall needs to take some responsibility for not checking the survey lines before putting this up.

If I were this neighbor, I wouldn't want to lose ANY of my land or have any easements on it that could obstruct future sales. I would probably ask you to move the wall back onto your property.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:02AM
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creek_side

No property lines should be moved without considering how that might affect the setbacks, especially the neighbor's. Those seem like tight lots if a driveway needing a retaining wall is that close to the property line.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:59AM
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Tricia

Thanks for all your input. The retaining wall is at the back of the property line from the end of the drive way to the back of the line, it keeps the pool in place. The bottom of the rr tie retaining wall and in one spot the driveway of this house has always been about 1/2 foot over the line since it was built in 1989. (I am the 5th owner the neighbor is an original owner)

When the rr tie retaining wall started to fail we had it replaced with a concrete block & brick faced retaining wall that matched the brick foundation of our house. The neighbors are very friendly, don't use that section of their yard, rarely even mow it. The contractor, the neighbor and myself discussed the possibility that the wall might go slightly over onto his property and we discussed visually where, drawing a line in the dirt. He didn't care, as long as the pool was saved. Well when it was all done the contractor did not curve the stairs as we discussed so the wall is over the line at least 2 feet.

If we live here till the end of our days there is no issue. However that is not likely. In preparation for possibly moving in some far off future time (What do I need 4 bedrooms for when my children will have moved out?) I would like to have this issue handled before it becomes critical and emotionally charged. From discussions with the neighbors they are willing to do whatever. It doesn't seem to matter to them. They just don't want us to move anytime soon. Which is another reason why I don't want to put off the correction or mitigation of this issue until we have to. It would just be better to take care of it now with, rebuilding the wall or redrawing the lot lines or obtaining an easement (that for that).

I am not sure it is worth the hassle to bring the contractor back in on a project he couldn't follow directions on the first time.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:41AM
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setancre

It sounds like you're not in too much of a rush since you are not planning to sell right away. If it were me, I would probably take baby steps to figure out the easiest course of action. Since the neighbors don't seem to have a problem with the retaining wall as it is, you are in an even better position. First I would have a survey done just to get accurate measurements. With that information in hand, when I had some free time I would contact the town/county municipal office and discuss what the easement/land purchase/exchange options are in your locality. Then I would discuss options with the neighbors and try to reach an agreement. Since you have plenty of time to allow paperwork and permits to be processed, you can go slowly and avoid as many unnecessary expenses and expediting fees as possible.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 3:10PM
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susana_2006

Not knowing your city or state, I'm not certain how difficult and costly this may be.
In California, I needed to have a lot line removed (no conflict) I owned two adjacent lots and needed them listed as one lot to facilitate financing for potential buyers.
The city required $700-- at first thought it would be simple, then required a survey $500.00. The surveyor needed a title report (almost cost $500.00, but a realtor was able to get one gratis). The title company took care of getting everything recorded (so I paid for that too eventually) I probably had to make 8 trips to city hall to try to get this moved along. This took 6 months.
I'm guessing that you would find changing a lot line to be a difficult operation, unless you live in an area that is easier to work with.
Good luck
Susan

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 11:10PM
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Tricia

Thank you Susana for your description. I am in Cobb County, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta. I wondered how difficult, costly and time consuming the process might be. I am not in a rush but you have confirmed that if we go this route it will likely be a lengthy process.
Thanks for the info everyone!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 12:41PM
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sylviatexas1

Things can change in the blink of an eye;
if you want this amended/changed/rectified/whatever, & your neighbors are agreeable, get it taken care of before they stub their toe on that wall, or their kids urge them to be stinkers & hold you up, or one of them dies...

Get a real estate attorney to manage the agreement, the new survey, etc, & be very nice but low-key to your neighbor.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 4:35PM
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