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wrong land! need help.

Posted by kindell (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 11, 08 at 21:23

Well we bought 5 acres of land, builders built our house, bank approved the interim, and now we find out during our final survey that actually we own the lot next door. We did not get an initial survey, because the title company said we just need one at the end. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this before. The realator had the sign on the wrong proprety. We did give the builder and the bank the current survey. No one caught the mix up until now. Everyone is pointing fingers and telling us it is our fault. How is it our fault, isn't that why we all hire so many professionals?? Any advice would be great at this point.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: wrong land! need help.

Title insurance coverage varies by jurisdiction and the type of policy you have. It covers defects in title on the covered property. But purchasing one property, then building a home on another....

The insurer said no survey and the bank advanced mortgage money secured by the property with no house on it. It sounds like plenty of culpability to spread around. Get yourself to a good lawyer right away!


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yes - get a lawyer who specializes in property law as quickly as you possibly can. Try and find someone who is really good at negotiating deals. Maybe if the piece of land you actually own and the one you built on are the same size and VERY similar, perhaps your lawyer can help you work out a land swap settlement deal with whomever actually owns the piece you actually built on. Unfortunately courts don't usually consider land to be fungible so if the rightful property owners decide they want to make a stink, this could get very very messy. Everybody else - the bank, the realator, the title insurance company, the builder, and the rightful property owners WILL have lawyers helping them. Don't be the only one trying to go it alone.

This kind of mess is the sort of fact pattern first year law school exams are composed of. Never actually heard of anyone having it happen to them tho.

Good luck!


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omg... i'm shocked. and you're right. i can't see how any of this mess could possibly be your fault! of course, hire yourself an attorney and make sure he/she is a really GOOD one!
i'm looking into my crystal ball and predicting that once the dust has settled and you've been in your new home a while, you will be able to add this to your list of "funny things that have happened to us."
i hope that day comes VERY soon. good luck to you and please keep us updated!


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Definately get a lawyer right away ! A question though - did you purchase the
lot through the agent that placed the sign on the wrong lot ? Did she/ he do
a real estate contract and list the address ? Seems to me - you may have some
action against the realtor . You may end up with 10 acres instead of 5 !


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That is horrible, and I can only imagine how much stress this is causing you and your family. But, just to play devil's advocate...if that was my land that you built your house on (regardless of how many experts dropped the ball in order for it to happen), this would end up in court.

The only worthwhile advice available here has already been shared...you need an attorney NOW. Good luck...


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I recall a similar incident from many years ago, during the development of a new subdivision. I haven't the vaguest idea what actually took place, but the house owner did end up buying the land the house stood on and eventually sold the original lot.

It's possible that fayemarie is right about there being some culpability on the realtor's part. OTOH, I'm sure somebody's lawyer is going to point out that you should have had the survey completed *before* the build began.

Yep, my crystal ball sees lots of fingers pointing in all directions, so make sure that you and your lawyer are on the same page as to the desired final results. Do you really want this house on this lot? Would you and the bank accept a trade of lots, or buying the house-sitting lot in addition?

Is there a chance that the error was not in which lot you bought, but in which lot was recorded as being yours or in which lot was surveyed? And, who else was involved in determining which site was the right one for the house? -- and how did they make that determination? Frankly, I find it doubtful that everyone relied upon a realtor's sign, and I would want to know how the architect, [GC, electric company, etc] decided which place to put the house, [foundation, electric lines, etc]. Those lots were located and surveyed and identified by number/description by somebody long before you chose one. I can see a high probability in a clerical error being made in recording which lot was chosen, thus leaving you and GC thinking lot# 12323 was your lot while lot# 12322 was written on the paperwork.


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Didn't you have to submit a current survey to obtain building permits from your municipality? Did building inspectors come to the site -- nobody noticed the 'wrong' address?

If you first bought the land and then built the house, didn't the title company require a current survey on the land purchase?


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Everyone will now be trying to protect their own interests. Trust no one and communicate with no one before hiring a lawyer.


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It happened recently on a lot in so.ca where the builder supposedly owned it and built a spec house. Turns out the lot he owned was next door. The owner of the lot the house was built on has a house that she doesn't want so to resolve the situation, they are trying to swap lots out. Different with acreage i would think. Best of luck!


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I am sorry you are going through this. I can see how it happens though.

When we bought our land, the land next door was for sale, too.
The realtor never told other realtors our land was sold and he still scheduled appts. for realtors to show our land.

In fact the people that now own the land next to us, had put an offer on our land and the realtor never told them it was already sold until their attorney did a title search.

It took several months and a phone call to the State Board of Realtors to get the realtor to tell other realtors our land was sold. The listing realtor stated that it was an oversight. Yeah right!

It is not your fault. Contact an attorney.


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A number of years ago this happened in the Georgia mountains. The lawsuit resulted in the actual landowner getting a new home for free.

Find yourself a very good RE lawyer and do it quickly!


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RE: wrong land! need help.

this sounds like a real nightmare- not just the wrong color countertops installed....

mightanvil is right- Do not talk to ANYONE- the realtor, the owner of the other lot, the builder- nobody- you could inadvertantly jeopardize your settlement by just contacting them and 'sorta agreeing on something'.

I don't envy you. Good luck.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

where were the owners of the land you were buying? Didn't they notice the sign on the wrong parcel, or a house being built on a parcel they still owned? How about the closing?


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Something along those lines happened to a neighbor. They put an addition on their house. Once they were finished, the person next door pointed out on the survey that they were over the property line by a few feet.
They offered to sell them those few feet, for the price of an acre or two. They pretty much had to buy it. Really tacky of the neighbor to not say anything while they were making the plans for the build.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

jeniferkey-what makes you think that person next door knew during the building process? It was tacky of your neighbor to not figure out where the lot line was before he/she started to build. But you are right, if the next door neighbor did know then he probably had a duty to point the error out to mitigate the damages. I feel really, really sorry for the OP. But if you build something, you are ultimately responsible for making sure that you can build it where you want to build it. The title company will only tell you what you need to do to get title insurance. The bank will only tell you what you need to do to get a mortgage loan and to protect the bank's security interest (the OP's bank didn't protect its interest here and will now be undersecured). Neither the bank nor the title insurance company has any duty to make sure that a client is doing whatever else he/she needs to do to protect the client's own self-interest--the client has to take steps to protect themselves--either hire a lawyer who knows what should be done or do reasearch to find out what they need to do. The real estate salesperson typically represents the seller, not the buyer. I don't know if just having the sign on the wrong lot is enough to make the real estate salesperson liable for much. If the real estate salesperson actually pointed out the lot lines to the OP, then there is more of a chance for some liability on the part of the real estate salesperson if the OP's reliance on the real estate salesperson's pointing out of the boundaries was reasonable, but the reliance would probably be reasonable only if the salesperson affirmatively told the OP that they didn't need to do more. Was there a plat map or certified survey map? If there was, would it have been apparent to the OP that the lot they purchased was not the lot they were building on if they had just looked at the plat or certified survey map? And the questions will go on and on. I am really sorry for the OP, but hopefully this thread will help people who are getting ready to build understand that there is a lot at stake when you build a house and you can't just assume that everyone you deal with has your best interests at heart--they all assume that you wouldn't build a house on land that you don't own. The OP hired lots of professionals but they didn't hire any professional to look out for their own interests. As mightyanvil said, get a good lawyer (one experienced not only in real estate law but also is has experience in the law pertaining to real estate agents) and don't talk to anyone in the meantime. Hopefully, the owners of the lot will be willing to sell it to you. Good luck!


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Carolyn
The neighbor watched all of the building process without saying a word about lot lines, then went over afterwards to make them pay. Of course the person building was wrong to not consult the survey, but I still think tacky on the part of the neighbor who knew what was happening and said nothing. These are 5 to 10 acre lots, so lines aren't always marked.
I do hope the OP finds a way to make this work out.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Sounds more smart than tacky... since he got to pocket some money.

It was the neighbor's responsibility to make sure they stayed on their own property. Why pick on the innocent party?


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What? Is this even possible??? I can understand the neighbor not being in the area and not knowing what was going on. How did you find this out?

Wow, I wish you well, good luck!


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Everyone is running around on this one but before you go any further, this is in the OP's profile

First registered on November 11, 2008.

Coincidence??? I think not.

I think someone is sitting back and enjoying the show.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"Posted by fayemarie (My Page) on Wed, Nov 12, 08 at 4:16

Definately get a lawyer right away ! A question though - did you purchase the
lot through the agent that placed the sign on the wrong lot ? Did she/ he do
a real estate contract and list the address ? Seems to me - you may have some
action against the realtor . You may end up with 10 acres instead of 5 !"


Real Estate Agents don't put up their own signs, it's usually contracted out to a company that does it for multiple agencies. So likely, it wasn't the real estate agents fault. The worst that they could be liable for is misrepresentation if they showed you the wrong lot.

A for sale sign is not a legal description. When the closing was done a legal description for the correct lot was given.

A judge would tell you that you had a legal description.....why didn't you look at it? You followed that up with not having a survey done. It's due diligence. So, you're partly responsible. You saved hundreds and have possibly lost hundred of thousands.

That said....the inspectors and the builder should have had a clue, too.

Get yourself a good lawyer. You may be able to work a trade with the owner of the lot. You may be able to get the builder to take some responsibility.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I was a licensed realtor for 15 years and I did put up my own signs . I am still
in close contact within my previous colleagues who also STILL put up all their
own signs . I have had many hours of training about the many ways I can be
sued for the mistakes I can make as a realtor - the reason why agents keep
E & O insurance . (Errors & Omissions Insurance) The insurance covers a agent when they make mistakes like this . It sounded to me like an attorney was'nt used for this closing and I do believe that an agent should have caught the screw up , too . There are specific laws regarding real estate signage for a reason . I think this problem started between the owner and the realtor - not
the builder . I see the owner being told by the realtor what the lot was and
then the owner telling the builder - who then proceeded with construction .
Then again - the post is suspicious and we have not heard anymore from
the original poster .


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Let's not assume this post is a fraud just because the person just registered. He/she may have been reading for some time, but never had an issue to ask about until now. The reason we haven't heard back from the OP is probably because they have been very busy trying to remedy the situation.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Somebody needs to tell the 3 realtors I know that they don't have to put up their own signs. It'll be news to them.

Good luck to the OP!


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RE: wrong land! need help.

If I were in the middle of this sort of disaster, first I'd hire a lawyer, then I'd look for an online community that could offer some insight. I don't find the OP especially suspect.

Seems to me very likely that the clerical staff ot the realty office simply wrote down the wrong lot number when filling out the paper work. If the lot they built on hasn't sold already, it shouldn't be all that tough to resolve the situation.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Well I am sorry I haven't updated. I found this site and registered for some advice. Yes, I did register on the same day I posted. It has been a very busy week. I have got a fantastic lawyer who assures me everything will be fine. Looks like the realtor has broken many rules and regulations. In the meantime I am looking for a place for my family to live (to include my 7 children) so everyone please keep your fingers crossed that this does not drag on to long. Still no word on what the land owners are thinking. Hopefully they will let us know something soon. Thanks for all of the advice. I will keep you updated, and no this is not fraud, this is my real life nightmare.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Sorry if I jumped to the wrong conclusion - sometimes people do post outrageous situations just to see what kind of response they can get and often they register the same day as the post.

I sure hope your lawyer is able to find a workable outcome for you and that it doesn't end up costing you - this should all be on someone elses's dime from what you've said. Best of luck.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

If there are no other structures nearby it can be very hard for people not experienced to even visualize the exact spot of a lot.

They may have known it was X feet from some mark, if they are not used to even estimating distances they could easily be off by enough feet to be in the wrong lot.

It is past foolish to not have a survey done before starting construction.

The initial survey will be expensive depending on how far the nearest bench mark is, but the location survey after construction should be much less expensive since it only needs to locate the house on the lot (and if you use the same surveyor it could be even cheaper).

Get a good RE lawyer and see what you can bargain for.
A land swap might be possible, but you are in a very vulnerable position.

Your construction is the property of the actual land owner.
They could tell you to pound sand, force you to remove the construction, or play ball.

It is entirely up to them.


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kindell ,

Glad to hear you have gotten an attorney and have started to get things
taken care of . I wish I could say I am surprised that the realtor broke
the rules and made mistakes but I'm not . Even from the little bit you
wrote it was obvious he/she dropped the ball . In my area we do have
companies that will put up our signs for us but I never utilized them
for reasons such as this . There are strict rules about signs and if they
are not followed can cost the agent a great deal of $$$ . I think it's
quite funny that agents think it's important to hire a company to put
up their signs but don't think their clients need a attorney for closing .
I am confident you will get this situation straightened out - I have
actually seen worse ! Good Luck


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I hope it all works out for you. And this is where I repeat something I've written on here many times...ALWAYS get a survey when buying a house or land. Even if the bank and town don't require it.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Kindell
By the time you return to this thread I hope you will be on your way to having everything straightened out.

In our township we have to submit a plan which has to be approved by the Zoning supervisor. Its his job to make sure that all information submitted corresponds with the property lines. When the septic plans/permits were purchased they told us where they think we should put the house in relation to the septic system.The township also has to approve those plans. With these plans already done, I dont understand how this mistake could be made unless your contractor was careless or your township doesn't require these permits.
I hope your Lawyer can help you. Best of luck.


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Updates? I'd sure love to know how this turned out!


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I wish kindell would update. This is an interesting case. Kindell, hopefully you have been able to get relief on your mortgage. I wonder if the mortgage is even enforcable? It seems to me that the agent is liable for misrepresentation.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Years ago my deceased father-in-law had bought a building lot in Ft. Meyers, FL. He only saw it as a spot on an undeveloped street when he was there on vacation, planning on building his retirement home there. About 10 years later, he gets a letter from an attorney for some fellow who had built a home on it years earlier by mistake, the error never caught until the guy tried to sell it. The resolution was my father-in-law got a 'free' retirement home and the title company ended up on the hook for the guy who built the house due to an error on their part years earlier. This is probably not that uncommon a mistake.


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Well it is 5 months later and not much progress has occurred. We are still fighting for our house. We ended up suing the bank, builder, land owners, and both brokers. The land owners have done the same. The land owners have agreed to take money over our house, but the insurance companies cannot agree to the amount, so with no settlement to the land owners there is not much we can do but wait. We all went to mediation, but there was no resolve to the issue. We have tried and tried to work with all parties to have this settled in a timely matter. We have offered many different routes that all parties could take, even though we end up with the short stick, but still cannot get this mess taken care of. We have now changed routes and decided that we will ride this very long process all the way to the jury if we have to. We have moved twice, and still have one more move before this settles. We are living 30 miles from our childrens school and living with none of our furniture. Our furniture was packed and placed in long term storage by the army, and we have tried to wait as long as possible before we have it delivered to keep the damages down on our part. Our next move, May 1, we will have our furniture delivered and rent a house so that we can settle in and ride this process out. We have now realized after 5 months that there is no quick resolution when there are so many parties involved. I will let you all know how things turn out hopefully in the near future. Thanks to you all for your support and advice!


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Oh Kindell what a mess! I know if I was you I would be freaking out! Sure hope this is resolved in your favor.
Kathy G in MI


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I remember your mess and have wondered several times if it was settled. Thanks for coming back to update. I hope the next time it will be with the news you're in your home!


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It came *this* close to happening to us, and I'm still shudderingly grateful that we dodged it. I think that this happens more often than people realize.
Best of luck to you; please keep us updated [in your spare time.]


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i'm so sorry you are still dealing with this. i can't imagine the constant aggravation and stress this surely puts on you and your family. my best wishes with the hope all is settled very soon ...take care of yourself!


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RE: wrong land! need help.


Here, before an improvement permit can be issued, you have to show how the house, well and septic will be placed on the land. This requires a survey.
Here, the title insurance company requires a survey to write a policy.
Here, most every builder will ask for a survey, to cover his butt.
Here, most real estate agents will make you sign off a form saying that you were advised on getting a survey, but agreed not to do so.
I do feel for your situation, but why on earth would you buy a peice of land w/o knowing the lines?
What are you going to tell the judge when he asks you why you did not perform a survey?
You are suing everyone except the title insurance company... They would be the first ones that I would go after..(that is even if you have a policy)


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"You are suing everyone except the title insurance company... They would be the first ones that I would go after..(that is even if you have a policy)"

There is no title issue with the lot they own, how would a title company be responsible?

Title policies also routinely excluded from coverage any problems a survey would find since the normal 'improvement location' plat is not a full up survey (and is so marked) since markers are not verified or placed.

The wooden stakes are NOT monuments.


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I really don't see how a survey would have made a difference. Survey people survey the area you ask them to, they don't do a title search.


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Surveyors here do examine the title records for the land they are surveying. I have had several surveys done. All showed current ownership of the subject and adjacent properties, as well as recorded easements.


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Here they only do easements etc. nothing on owners or liens.


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Here they only do easements etc. nothing on owners or liens.


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Inside Edition is doing a story Monday on this very situation. Maybe it is about Kindell and her family?


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Inside edition

I think it is Kindell. Talks about 7 children.

"Posted by kindell (My Page) on Fri, Nov 14, 08 at 21:43

Well I am sorry I haven't updated. I found this site and registered for some advice. Yes, I did register on the same day I posted. It has been a very busy week. I have got a fantastic lawyer who assures me everything will be fine. Looks like the realtor has broken many rules and regulations. In the meantime I am looking for a place for my family to live (to include my 7 children) so everyone please keep your fingers crossed that this does not drag on to long. Still no word on what the land owners are thinking. Hopefully they will let us know something soon. Thanks for all of the advice. I will keep you updated, and no this is not fraud, this is my real life nightmare."


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I guess I'm simplistic, but why in the world would op sue the landowners? Even setting aside the apparent unfairness, isn't that a bit like biting the bull on the nose?


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"I really don't see how a survey would have made a difference. Survey people survey the area you ask them to, they don't do a title search."

They at least read the description of the property from the deed to figure out where it is.

A full survey goes from known monuments (often coats and geodetic survey) o the property boundaries, and after checking them looks for encroachments.

The survey would have at least staked out the correct lot.


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That a survey would help assumes the real estate agent filled out the correct lot number info, which seems to have been an issue. There isn't enough info here on what really would have prevented this.


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Surveyors do not normally use input from RE agents.

They would have checked with the person who divided the land.


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brickeyee - you're assuming that person is still alive and available. If the contract says lot 7 and you ask them to survey lot 7. Why would they choose to survey something else. I still don't see how the survey would have found this issue at all even if the person that divided the land was still around unless that person knew the current owners of lot 7 were not selling.


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In my neck of the woods, the survey takes the legal description from the sellers info and then verifies it. This includes marking the property and providing who ever ask for the survey a legal plat. This is done by checking county records.

If they had a survey before building, the surveyors would have marked according to legal description and there would not have been this problem.

I think what happened was the realtor thought he had the right property marked and did not. It escalated from there and while all legal descriptions were for one property, the buyers did not know this and thought they bought the lot they built on.


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Hindsight is 20-20. Hopefully this will educate people so that someone can learn from Kindell's mistake. We were in a similar situation in that we had modified our foundation - the building code said to "drop the new plans off at their office", which we did. Turns out that we were supposed to redo the building permit. So, we were negligent in not following the written directions on the back of the building permit. By the time we found out that the county considered our revised foundation as "illegal", it was already built. Like OP, we bent over backwards to try to get the issue resolved, but ended up having to threaten a lawsuit to get it resolved. Luckily it only set us back 3 months, which also limited our losses when our GC skipped town. (Yeah, a couple of bad decisions on our part!)

I'm sure everything will work out for the OP, but am sorry that all parties were not able to agree during arbitration. Sounds like the lawyers are the only winners here.


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"I guess I'm simplistic, but why in the world would op sue the landowners?"

Not being the plaintiff's lawyer I can only guess, but I imagine the reasont he landowner was sued was because in order to compell them to do something (accept money for the land, participate in a legal swap, etc.) they need to be a party to the case. There are legal rules about making someone a party to an action and the plaintiff's lawyer was probably trying to cover those bases.


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lyfia, when teh original owner first subdivided the land they had to submit a plat to teh county. by looking at this and the legal description any surveyor can get you on teh correct land. if there is ANY descrepancy they notify you to find out which is which.

when we bought our 2 acres several years ago i got a survey to make sure we were correct. it turned out that we owned almsot 50' more to the north than was thought and that much less on the south. my neighbor's dog pen was on part of the property, and on the back part another's lean to off his barn. i had an agreement with the back neighbor since he was keeping horses on there that everything coudl stay as is until we needed it and then i would give him plenty of notice. the side neighbor i just told him don't worry about it cause it was only like 2' at an odd angle. it would have required moving only 1 pole, but i said no need.

had i not got the survey and gone by eyeballing it, the house we were going to build would have ended up partially on another property since it was only going to have 30' on the south side. when we bought our current house i sold the lot to the back neighbor for what i had in it. worked out for everyone.


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I saw the little piece on "Inside Edition" on Kindell and her family. They had the other owners there as well.

From pictures they had, the for sale sign was on the wrong property. The other property was quite different(lots of ravines.

The surveyors were the ones who found out the house was on the wrong property. If they had been called in before the build they would have know before hand.


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The article is on the Inside Edition website. I can not even imagine the stress they are under and hope they all reach an amicable solution.

If the land owners won't sell, then what?


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They said if they can not settle it will wind up in court.


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Why should the land owners sell? They did nothing wrong? If anything, they could bring an action to have their property restored to its unbuilt state.


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When we built our home in a rural are we had a survey first.

We knew what we purchased before we bought and built. I looked at the survey myself to make sure I knew what we were getting for our money.

I guess I just don't understand how a person doesn't KNOW what they are buying. But obviously it happens.


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I can see it if someone has no experience with rural property, then goes out and buys some. A good real estate agent is invaluable for the novice rural buyer. The only problem is finding one. Far too many agents don't have a clue about rural property.


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Even if you get and read a survey, if there are no obvious landmarks, it may not do much good. (546' NE of the marker 273 isn't very helpful...) When I negotiated to buy my previous house, the developer's sales rep told me that the lot ended in the center of the creek. And at closing, the survey showed a boundary line 220-250 feet away from the front lot line that matched the shape of the creek, just like I was told it would. Then three years later, I get a visit from an outraged neighbor, asking if I'd heard of the developer's newly-announced plan to build a jogging path along the creekfront using 10' of creekfront land they were claiming to own. Turned out the developers did retain ownership of that 10 feet or so, but hadn't told any of their creekfront buyers. Fortunately, several of my creekfront neighbors were lawyers, and they took care of it aggressively and at minimal cost to the other homeowners, and the developer deeded us the extra parcels for $1. But that could have gotten very ugly. And I DID get a survey.


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If it was that close, your survey should have showed the creek, not just the boundary line. Who ordered and paid for the survey? Was it the developer?


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The land we bought stated a certain acreage but we paid out of pocket for a survey to make sure.
We ended up with a half acre more that we paid for, but it was worth every penny to know where our boundary marks were.
The bank lender insisted on another survey once building started to make sure we were building on land owned by us.
One of the property borders ends into the middle of the creek and we have had numerous problems similar to the previous poster.


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I don't recall who paid for the survey -- I'm guessing is was part of the standard mortgage package that the lender ordered and I paid for? It showed that there was a creek there, but the creek's size fluctuated greatly by season, so there was a lot of room for 'fudge' or interpretation. Which I guess I did...

But I don't really want to derail this thread. My purpose in posting was only to illustrate that sometimes the information contained in the survey is not really sufficient to allow a layman to determine anything meaningful anyway. Unless the OP's survey showed "Ravine!" on it, it might not have alerted them to anything.


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The survey marks corners etc,. It is pretty hard not to see the neon tape on the markers they set above ground.

All the surveys in our area of the country do that so you can see your property lines.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

jamagill ~ Neon tapes don't last forever. Even the little stakes used by surveyors aren't permanent-- my last surveyor normally uses one metal post and the remaining are small wooden stakes tapped into the ground. If there is much shrubbery, the stakes seem to disappear into it. I paid extra to have tall metal fence posts instead. Even so, it's possible for someone to lift and move (or remove) the metal posts. On the same thought, old survey posts can become overgrown. I own a house which has seven heavy iron markers for the lot (odd-shaped lot), and a couple years ago we noticed that two of the markers are now hidden under tree roots. I'd trust a survey marker only if I was positive nothing had been changed or moved since the survey was done.

sweeby ~ if your mortgage contract didn't state that a recent survey was done, likely one wasn't done. Of all the various pieces of land I've bought and sold over the last 50 years (a couple dozen), only ONE came with a valid certified survey. All had been accepted for financing or were already financed. And I've learned that having a survey done and certified on paper, does not necessarily mean that the survey is well marked on the land itself.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I disagree with those that think surveys are too hard to read for the novice buyer.

We bought our land without a realtor. We looked at the survey, looked at the land marks and knew without a shadow of doubt what we were purchasing.

After the survey I looked at the PVA info as well, then I looked at the local satelite views of the property.

I feel really sorry for the original poster. She put her fate in another persons hands that failed her miserably. I trust no one when it comes to spending 100s of thousands of dollars.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"jamagill ~ Neon tapes don't last forever. Even the little stakes used by surveyors aren't permanent-- my last surveyor normally uses one metal post and the remaining are small wooden stakes tapped into the ground. If there is much shrubbery, the stakes seem to disappear into it. I paid extra to have tall metal fence posts instead. Even so, it's possible for someone to lift and move (or remove) the metal posts. On the same thought, old survey posts can become overgrown. I own a house which has seven heavy iron markers for the lot (odd-shaped lot), and a couple years ago we noticed that two of the markers are now hidden under tree roots. I'd trust a survey marker only if I was positive nothing had been changed or moved since the survey was done. "

My neighbors did their survey 2 years ago. I just pulled all the neon pink markers off my property(easement markers). They lasted through 6 or 7 feet of snow etc. They were getting annoying.

The point is that they only needed to last one day. You have the survey, you walk the property and you know where all the property lines are. You will then know where to look for the permenant corner markers in the future.

The OP's situation is the perfect example of why a survey is better safe than sorry.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

davidandkasie - I know all that. The point I was making is if the realtor put down the wrong lot number on the paper work and this is what was given to the surveyor then I still don't see a reason why the survey would have found anything as it would be surveying the lot the realtor stated, which would have been the wrong one.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

because the lot number would com e back as owned by person X, and the surveyor's paperwork would show person Y. this is enough to throw a flag up.

around here the surveyor is given owner's name, plat number, PPIN number, legal description, AND most importantly a copy of the current owner's title. so unless the same person owns 2 lots side by side, there is absolutely 100% no way the survey could be off. and if the same person did own 2 plots and they surveyed the wrong one, odds are the surveyor was given the wrong info.

in other words, the surveyor ain't gonna listen to the realtor say go mark lot number 14 on Oak Street. he is going to need the current owner's name and title, go to the courthouse and pull the records, and based on what the COURTHOUSE says is where he marks.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Wooden stakes and neon tape are NOT the same as monuments.

Placing monuments (steel or lead pipe) copsts more than a simple boundary survey marked with stakes and flagged.

You get what you pay for, and the level of reliability increases with a survey and monument location and placement.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Any updates?


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Hi everyone! Well not much news to update you all with. We are still fighting for our house, but the land owners still have not settled. We did get into a year lease, for another property, and have since had all of our furniture delivered. The kids are settled and happy to have a house with furniture. We are hanging in there one day at a time.

As far as a survey. We were given an existing survey, as was all the other parties. The survey was 14 years old and when we questioned our realtor on it, she told us not to worry about it because it was "raw land". Even with the existing survey no one caught the mistake. All the parties had copies of the survey and walked the property that the house sits on. We also had to turn in our plans for the well and septic and the county approved the permits, for the wrong land. So for everyone wondering how we didn't catch this problem, none of the professionals could catch the problem how are we expected to?

We jumped in this process with both feet and pay for it everyday. We will continue to fight for what we believe and carry hope that one day we will live in our house. But more than anything, if my heartache prevents even one person from having to go through what we have been though then I am satisfied. Let this be a lesson learned not only for us but for any other person who decides to build a house.

We have another mediation on Monday. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

-Kindell


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Kindell

WOW I wondered what happened with this. I am hoping you get your house, good luck.
Cindy


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RE: wrong land! need help.

What bothers me in all this is the suing of the land owners. They did nothing wrong, yet you have filed a lawsuit against them, according to your postings. Upon what legal or moral authority do you stand when you sue someone who is innocent of any wrongdoing?


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RE: wrong land! need help.

What bothers me in all this is the suing of the land owners. They did nothing wrong, yet you have filed a lawsuit against them, according to your postings. Upon what legal or moral authority do you stand when you sue someone who is innocent of any wrongdoing?,

Totally agree. And I think if was them I would be sueing you to remove your house and restore my property to original condition.
So to be so harsh but they are completely inocent in this.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I didn't take time to read the entire thread again, as it's gotten so long, so I might've missed something crucial, or forgotten it.

But when did the land's true owner notice someone built a house on it? If they noticed early they probably had a duty to speak up. To know about it and stay silent could mean the land's true owner could be sued for 'unjust enrichment.'

I'm interested in how this turns out too, and wonder if they had hired their own survey done, and it was still botched, would the person or company doing the survey be financially responsible for the mistake? I've seen way too many people do everything right and then some, and still have some kind of big problem that WAS the fault of some paid professional, and they never got a dime of compensation from the at-fault party. I hope it turns out better than that for the OP.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Like others have said, the orginal land owners are not at fault for anything unknown and to say that they should/could have known and come forward is a stretch at best. I own several tracts of raw land that I may check on periodically, less than once a year, if at all. Would I be at fault if someone built a structure on my land?

The true fault lies with each and everyone of the so called professionals that the OP hired and relied on.

First and foremost is the realtor for not recommending a new survey. Second is the title company for not requesting a new survey. I still don't know how the title company accepted a 14 year old survey. Most I do business with, will not accept anything older than 2 years, raw land or not.

The builder is also resposible for not getting a new survey, as is the bank.

See the pattern here?

A proper survey not only locates the property markers and boundaries, it verifies that the markers are in the right location and that the property in question is what/where it should be in relation to other propeties.

Some surveys are done very sloppy and they locate the markers, take some measurements, look for encroachments and call it good. The problem is that many adjacent lots have common measurements and corner locations, so it is imperative that the survey not only defines the lot, but locates it as well.

As a lay person the OP did nothing wrong, but is paying the ultimate price for professional incompetance.

If it were me I would drag everyone from the realtor, title company, builder, and banker into court and squeeze each one of them and see who squeals the loudest.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

By suing the land owners, OP is not taking the position that the land owners did anything wrong or are "at fault". The way our legal system works, in a situation such as this one, all persons with an interest in the property have to be "made a party" to the suit in order for the court to settle the mess.

Whatever the court rules MAY will wind up affecting land owners interests in the land and it would not be fair to the land-owners for that to happen without them getting a chance to have their position heard.

For example, the land owners may have absolutely no interest in the house that was built and might want the land restored to its natural state. I think it is unlikely that the court would ever order that but, if the land owners made a convincing enough argument the court, the court might award them some damages for diminution of value of their land to them... which means that whoever is "at fault" would wind up having to pay damages to the landowners.

Alternatively, the court might find that the house actually has value to the landowners - even though it isn't exactly what they would have built - and require the landowners to pay for the "value received". (The amount will probably be quite a bit less than OP paid to have the house built but it would reduce the amount of damages that whomever is finally determined to be "at fault" for the mistake would have to pay.)

Bottom line is that OP really had little choice but to sue the land-owners along with everyone else. That doesn't mean OP thinks they are in any way "at fault" - just that his lawyer understands that the land owners are an "indispensible party" to the suit.

Here is a link that might be useful: indispensable party defined


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Well Bevangel you hit the nail on the head. Just because we named the land owners in a suit doesn't mean that we think they are going to pay all of our damages. We attended a 12 hour mediation yesterday with no resolution. We are quit frustrated this morning. What it boils down to is we will never be made whole in this situation because there are to many parties involved and the situation is to rare for anyone to know what to do. So pretty much we fight for what we believe is right and take a huge hit, or we give in to what they want and still take a huge hit. I just don't understand why insurance companies think they can push and push somone until they eventually give in. I can't let crooked people take advantage of me, and that will probably turn around to bite me in the end. At this point its more about principle then money in our eyes. Anyone have advice on dealing with insurance companies?? I'll keep you posted. Thanks for all of the comments and advice.

-Kindell


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Just do not antagonize the folks you built on.

They can easily counter sue demanding you remove your intrusion and restore the land.

Costing them money in a suit is a good way to antagonize them.

The only way they are indispensable is if you expect them to cave to your wishes and sell you the property.

The lawsuit is between you and your hires/agents about who will pay the damages you have incurred.

Technically they could hire a bulldozer to clear their land if they wished.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

It's nice that you don't expect the land owners that you are suing "to pay all of our damages." Just what part should they pay? Since it isn't their fault, how about none.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Sadly, I think there are a lot of people out there that would see this as a proverbial "lottery ticket" if they were the land owners. Realistically, if they are demanding more than fair market value for the land than they are doing just that.

A simple solution- which I'm sure has already been proposed- is a land swap plus some premium if their parcel was deemed better. Maybe they could even include a small extra kicker for all the inconvenience.

Life is just too short & mistakes happen. What's done is done- why increase the stress and grief in an already difficult situation?

It is hubris for anyone to think it couldn't happen to them-mistakes just build on prior mistakes and before you know it- you've built a house on someone else's land and all twenty parties in the deal are looking around trying to establish fault.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I don't want the land owners to pay anything. The land owners have to be in the suit because it's their land and they have to release the land and or decide to keep it. I don't blame them at all that this house is there land, I blame the professionals. Im not an evil person, I am not out to get the land owners. I just want to be able to live in my house, and if the land owners decided they dont want that, then I want the other parties to compensate me for damages.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

...release the land and or decide to keep it."

In other words you are seeking to have them cave to your demands.

I would be really mad that I had to pay my attorney to respond, and would do everything I could to have all my legal expenses paid by the complainant.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Well, I for one have learned something from all this. If someone builds a structure of any sort on my land without permission, I shall quietly obtain a demolition permit from the county, then hire a guy I know with a really big dozer and a dump truck.

Problem solved.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I am under the impression that the other land owners wanted to settle, but that the insurance companies refuse. How do the insurance companies want this to be settled? By the OP losing their investment?

I find it troubling that several posters have absolutely no sympathy for the OP, who appears to be doing their best to muddle through this situation. Since arbitration did not work, the OP has two choices - follow the advice of their lawyer or lose their entire investment.

I seriously doubt that the other land-owner will pay anything. Either the OP or the other parties involved will pay their legal costs.

The OP can't demolish the house without the other landowner's approval, and their bank's approval, and their insurance's approval. For some reason, a land swap is not feasible. And some of the posters on this thread think that the only fair solution is for the OP to take the entire loss and foot the bill for all other party's legal fees?

I certainly don't know enough to guess at whether the OP is being greedy, or if the landowners are, or if the lawyers are dragging it out to increase their fees. But having been through Hurricane Katrina, the idea of insurance companies being greedy is not much of a stretch.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Could you legally demolish a home that someone accidentally built on your property? I would be surprised if that were the case but I don't know. It just seems odd to assume you can destroy something that's not yours even if it's on your property.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

The only time we ever had a sizable claim with our insurance company, they of course tried to weasel out of it on all sorts of technicalities. We had to retain a lawyer to sue our own insurance company. Luckily, the law was on our side, and the insurance company had to pay (and all of our legal expenses, too) The insurance company then dropped us, but at least we were compensated.

Probably the biggest issue in this case is determining who exactly is at fault, and then going after their insurance company. Obviously, neither the land owner or the OP is at fault here, although they are the ones suffering at the moment.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Please note, the OP is not trying to hurt or damage the land owners in any way. They are just jumping through the crazy hoops the legal system is putting in their way.

Another note, the landowners only bought this land as an investment ( per the news story) they had it for over thirty years and had no intention of building on it. I am sure they only want a fair price for it.

The people that should pay are the agents that posted the for sale sign on the wrong property. Yes others compounded this error but they started it all.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Could you legally demolish a home that someone accidentally built on your property? I would be surprised if that were the case but I don't know. It just seems odd to assume you can destroy something that's not yours even if it's on your property.

If someone builds something on your land, and they have no legal right to do so, it is your property, not theirs. If you cruise the legal forums, there are numerous threads posted by attorneys stating so. In most cases, the issue wasn't a house, but a fence, or a paved driveway, or a tree that someone planted.

Still, they are all improvements to real property. I'm not an attorney, but I don't see how a permanent dwelling would be any different.

Another note, the landowners only bought this land as an investment ( per the news story) they had it for over thirty years and had no intention of building on it.

Sorry, but I get really mad when I see statements like that. I have had that sort of thing directed at me, by squatters, no less. I wasn't using a building, so why should they get out. Because they don't own it; that's why.

It doesn't matter why the owners bought the land or what their intent was, it is their land. They can do what they damn well please with it, as long as they aren't breaking the law. And if they choose not to do something (in this case sell), that is their right too.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I had lawyers to waffle in their advice to me regarding a chain link fence built about 15 feet onto my property. I noticed it within two days of installation. The installer threatened violence (no witnesses) and legal action if I touched "his fence". I finally told my lawyer that if I had erected the fence, I certainly could remove it at will. If I could not in this instance, then this other party had more rights than I regarding my property. Lawyer was silent. Bulldozer cleared it away. No legal repercussions.
I really feel for the OP. And I feel for the other property owner. Settle it as amicably as possible.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

c'mon brickeyee - you're putting words into OP's mouth.

The original land-owners really do have just two choices with respect to their land: They can either choose to keep it or they can choose to release (sell) it. Do you see any other option for them???

By saying she wants the landowners to go ahead and make that choice so she can get out of LIMBO, OP is NOT seeking to have the owners cave into her "demands"... just make a choice so she can get on with her life.

If the landowners are willing to sell the land, it should be for a fair price. It is not fair that OP should have to pay for her house all over again. The fair thing would be for her to pay market value for the land plus a reasonable extra amount to compensate the current owners for their trouble and attorney expenses plus perhaps a little bit extra because they are not totally "willing sellers".

Even better would be if, as MDev suggested, the landowners would agree to a landswap plus a reasonable amount of extra money.

Kindell, I have to ask - Is there ANYTHING special about that particular piece of property? I.e., does it have spectacular views of the lake? Is it noticeably different from other nearby pieces of land in ANY way? Was it the last piece of flat, easily build-able vacant land in the area? Did it have more trees than the other lots nearby? Or some very large mature trees? Does it have a pond or a spring on it? Does it have an oil well? Anything at all that makes it noticeably different from other nearby tracts of comparable size?

Alternatively, have the landowners ever mentioned anything suggesting that they might have an emotional attachment to that particular piece of land? I.e., Has it been in the original owner's family for a long time? Did the owner fish or hunt there as a boy? Did the owners buy the land after visiting it for the first time on their honeymoon? Did the owner scatter his father's ashes there? Were the owners already in the process of designing their own dream home to go on that particular piece of land? ANYTHING????

Ultimately, if the landowners are adamantly unwilling to sell the land, it is highly unlikely that a court will ever require them to do so. If the matter goes to court, the only question is going to be who pays who - and how much - for the house that got built on that land? Do the landowners get the house for free or do the landowners have to pay Kindell for the value she inadvertently added to their property? Or does someone (whoever is "at fault") have to either pay damages to the owner for diminishing the value of their land or else pay to remove the house and restore the land to its initial condition?

BTW, it seems HIGHLY unlikely that the court will rule that the house must be torn down and the land restored. Courts dislike "economic waste" and tearing down a brand new, and perfectly good house in a residential neighborhood just because it accidentally got built on the wrong land is the epitome of economic waste. It also seems unlikely that the court would deem that adding a very nice residence to a 5 acre piece of raw land in a residential zoned neighborhood somehow "diminished" the value of that land. The house Kindell built might not be the house the homeowners would have chosen to build but it added a whole lot of value to the property nevertheless.

If original owners decide they want to keep the land AND the house, the court may very well decide that by keeping the house they are gaining a whole lot of value and that they should pay (quantum meruit) for what they have gained. In that case, OP just might get some portion of her money back from the landowners - not because the original owners damaged her but because they GAINED something of value in this snafu and they have made the choice to keep it.

My guess however, is that landowners have a lawyer telling them that if they just sit tight, they will eventually get the house for free. That might happen. Then again, it might not. Depends on how the court and jury sees the "equities" when the whole thing goes to trial. The one thing their lawyer is banking on however is that, whatever happens, he WILL make a lot of money in the process.

If I were OP and could not get the landowners to settle the matter reasonably, one of the issues I would try to get the court to consider is whether the landowners knew (or should have known) that someone was building on their property and then just sat back and let it happen.

Funny thing is, the landowners only live about 15 minutes up the road from the property! (Beg pardon for being nosy Kindell, but I was so intrigued by the whole mess that I did a bit of research and landed on a News8 article about your situation. Then, when I realized you live in my state, I tracked down more info in various public records including the address of property and the names and home address of the landowner. Just so you know I'm not blowing smoke, the first name of the landowner is Leamon and his wife's name is Deloris.)

Clearly, the first thing you should do is try to reach a reasonable settlement with the landowners. It sounds like you have been trying to do this but without success. Based on the numbers (i.e., a bit of research into the ages and economic situation of the landowners) my guess is that they see you and your finance (DH now?) as a wealthy couple who can afford to fund their retirement... or at least that is how their lawyer is looking at things.

If you have another mediation, do everything possible to make Leamon and Deloris see that you are not Mr. & Mrs. Moneybags including dragging all the kids along to the mediation (to show why you built such a big house) and having DH show up in uniform so they'll get a better idea of your real economic situation. Leamon and Deloris might still think insurance will cover it all. But, if they can be made to see that their desire for a windfall is hurting a very real family who struggles just like they do, they just might be more reasonable. Do your best to get them to see you and your family as real person just like they are.

But, if you have to fight...

I think your lawyers could easily argue that, living so close by, the landowners actually KNEW someone was building on their land and then they deliberately sat back and let it happen. If you can prove that, then the court would likely require them to pay full value for the house they got. So, if you have to fight, you might want to get a PI to dig around into whether there is any evidence they visited the property WHILE you were building on it. Say, a credit card receipt for gas purchased at the nearest gas station, or cell phone records showing calls transmitted thru the nearest cell tower, or emails/letters/converstations with their friends/family where they mentioned an upcoming "windfall". You might even want to dig around into just when they hired their lawyer. If they hired the lawyer while you were building, that that would go to show they knew what was happening and were biding their time in order to collect a windfall.

Alternatively, if during the entire period it took for you to build your house, the landowners never once drove the 12.26 miles from their nearby home to visit the land they owned, then that is at least some evidence that the land has little or no emotional value to them. If they had no intention of ever building on it, it was merely an investment property and their expectation was to earn a reasonable profit on their investment. Thus, if they are now refusing reasonable settlement offers (eg, 2X to 3X the market value of the land), it is because they are now looking for a windfall. Equitably, that should count against them as courts seek only to make damaged parties "whole", not give them windfalls. And that is especially true when the dispute arises from a mistake rather than from willful action and where, as here, giving one party a windfall will harm another innocent party.

I suppose even if you proved the landowners did visit the area while you were building, they could claim that they didn't know you were building on their property b/c, like you, they didn't know exactly where the boundaries were. But in that case, they would be bolstering your argument that the land has no special value to them and that, by refusing a reasonable land swap or a reasonable offer of purchase, they are seeking a windfall.

Still, you never know what will happen in court... except for one thing: A whole bunch of attorneys on all sides of the issue will make a whole lot of money.

One more thing, you might look into why the county - which clearly knows that the house has been built - has not assessed taxes against it. If the landowners are going to keep the land and the house, they should have to pay the taxes on it. That will cost them money NOW and that could be a bargaining chip for you.

As for the insurance companies not paying, I know we all like to blame insurance companies but, in a situation like this, until either the landowners agree to a settlement offer that the other parties can live with or the court determines who owes who how much money, the insurance companies really CANNOT just pay damages. They don't know how much damages are due or who they are due to or which insurance company has to pay them. They are, for now, as much at the mercy of the landowners as Kindell and her family. All that could change in a heartbeat if evidence is found that the landowners knew about the mistake and failed to tell anyone until the house was finished.

My heart goes out to you Kindell and I do wish you all the best.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Yep, it's obvious Delores and Leaman have been scheming to make a killing.

One thing's for sure: this situation is a good "theoretical" for first year property law students.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"The original land-owners really do have just two choices with respect to their land: They can either choose to keep it or they can choose to release (sell) it. Do you see any other option for them???"

They have a house that they can sell to anyone they want.

Build on property you do not own and the item is theirs.

"I had lawyers to waffle in their advice to me regarding a chain link fence built about 15 feet onto my property. I noticed it within two days of installation."

You need a better lawyer.
You have a survey done, stakes and monuments (if the monuments are not already there), and send a 30 day demand letter to remove the fence or you will demolish it.
There is not a lot about putting an improvement on property you do not own.
It becomes theirs to do with as they wish.

You can even force removal of portions of an encroaching structure, like a house or garage.
I was involved in a dispute that had a home addition over the line by almost 4 feet.
If the land had been sold to the encroacher the lot would no longer have been large enough for conforming zoning.
They had to demo the encroaching portion, and then ran into more trouble over not having the required setbacks from the line.
The entire addition was removed.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I feel bad for the OP but I don't understand how this could happen. When we bought our land we walked it, we knew it before we bought it.
Did you look at the property before you bought it?


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RE: wrong land! need help.

The only real question should be how a Court will apportion the liability of the assorted alleged professionals that Mills and Jabsen relied on.

I bought two cottages in '89 that, according to my lawyer who saw the survey I had just commissioned, had municipal road access. Turned out he couldn't read a survey. Lake access only. I sued the Vendor, both real estate agents and their brokers and my lawyer. They settled before trial. Meanwhile, the neighbour with road access died, I bought his property and granted myself access across that property to the municipal road.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Good move worthy :)


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Maybe the OP should hire bevangel.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

To answer your question Bevangel:

"Kindell, I have to ask - Is there ANYTHING special about that particular piece of property"?

The lot that the house was built on (and the one we thought was ours) is very flat. The neighboring lot (the one we actually about) has two very large ravines that run through it. That is why a land swap has not and most likely will not work. The empty lot is practically unbuildable with out costing thousands of dollars in dirt to build the property up. We have found other lots that are equal to the lot with the house, but the land owners are not interested in land. And not only are the two properties completely different, but the land owners have owned the land for 30 years. The land owners know that they can fight to have the house torn down, but have chosen not to take that route at this point. If they chose that route the bank would fight hard because of the note on the house.

PS Bevangel
Its a little scary that you know so much =) but were quit impressed on your research skills. Maybe we should hire you as our PI. =) You did miss one important piece of the puzzle, the taxes have been assessed on the property and have been assessed very high. The land owners have received the notice on the taxes and expressed their concerns.

PPS
We are NOT rich! And the land owners have met us several times and met our kids on numerous occasions.

To creek side and brickeyee, you all are being quite harsh. The law makes the land owners be involved in the suit, and your trying to paint me out as this horrible person. All I can do is take the steps needed to get this issue resolved so that ALL parties can move on with their lives. In a world according to creek side and brickeyee, the problem would be solved short and sweet, the house is torn down. Unfortunately to you, we dont live in a world like that, everything must go through the courts.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"In a world according to creek side and brickeyee, the problem would be solved short and sweet, the house is torn down. Unfortunately to you, we dont live in a world like that, everything must go through the courts."

And you have dragged a third party into the dispute in the hopes of getting a solution other than tearing down what is now their house, on their land.

They could counter sue you for damages (including legal fees), tearing the house down, and restoring their property to its original condition.

Pissing them off will be a very bad idea, since they hold all the cards.
The bank will be SOL and you will still owe the money on what is now a loan with no collateral.

These things happen, and it always turns into a huge fight since property is unique.

If your attorney did not quietly approach them feeling them out before naming them in the lawsuit they are probebly already pissed and out $$ for their attorney.

Costing folks money is NOT a good way to get them to cooperate.

You are very much at their mercy, treat them with kid gloves.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

this happened to my neighbor, she had to move it all.. it has been at least 6 years, they are still trying to recover all the expenses from having to move it all. or if they did not move it they loss it. Wish you the best of luck..

Paula


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Well, I looked at the property today (using Google Earth). BevAngel isn't the only one who knows how to dig stuff up.

Unfortunately, the image is from 2003, so the new house doesn't show up. But from the existing houses on the road and the fact that we are talking five acre lots, it looks like there would have been only two adjacent unbuilt lots on that side of the street. One is pretty flat, and the other does indeed have ravines.

So my question is, what did the original survey show? Kindell says she got a copy of it up front. Subdivision surveys typically have legal descriptions and/or lot numbers on them. If this one had lot or tract numbers, and the real estate listing mentioned the (correct) lot or tract number, which they typically do, everyone, including the buyers should have spotted the error.

Besides the suing of an innocent party, what bothers me in all this is the OP's claim that everyone is at fault, except the buyers. Unless that survey did not show the roads or any lot numbers, it should have been obvious that there was some sort of serious discrepancy.

There is another clue that someone should have spotted, if Google is correct. By the way the mailing addresses increment, according to Google Earth (not always correct), the property is located down the street from the built on lot adjacent to the ravined lot. Looking at the mail boxes for the existing houses should have at least triggered some sort of curiosity.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"There is another clue that someone should have spotted, if Google is correct. By the way the mailing addresses increment, according to Google Earth (not always correct), the property is located down the street from the built on lot adjacent to the ravined lot. Looking at the mail boxes for the existing houses should have at least triggered some sort of curiosity. '

Very seldom are the street numbers on a plat or survey.. Subdivisions are platted and then when the first house is built the county assigns a number.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Very seldom are the street numbers on a plat or survey.. Subdivisions are platted and then when the first house is built the county assigns a number.

True, but that's not the point at all. There were existing mailboxes on the street, and therefore a numbering scheme, at least as far back as 2003, probably much earlier. At some point, the OP got a house number. It should have been obvious that the number didn't follow the normal sequence on the street, which really should have raised a red flag.

Real estate listings for unimproved property sometimes include the street number, if it has been assigned. If the listing included the street number, and it didn't match the existing sequence, then that should have been an earlier red flag.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

shoulda, coulda, woulda

An address has nothing to do with the legal description of a piece of land. You do not buy an address! In Texas it is the builder that requests the address, from either the power company, the 911 service providers or the city. The address is spray painted on a piece of wood until construction is complete.

With the excitement of construction, how many people do you know that would do an analysis of the address to make sure it is in the right sequence? Most people just accept it as fact, as does the builder, the banker, etc.

In subdivisions with acreage lots, the address scheme can, and does, skip several numbers due to the size of the lots and if the owners have combined several lots into one composite lot.

Again the Op relied on so called professionals for guidance and got screwed.

What really sucks is that the OP MUST now sue, or be sued, by the land owner so that a judgement and damages are awarded. Then the OP can sue the professionals that she paid to help and protect her for her losses and damages.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

What really sucks is that the OP MUST now sue, or be sued, by the land owner so that a judgement and damages are awarded. Then the OP can sue the professionals that she paid to help and protect her for her losses and damages.

Read the thread. She has already filed suit against everyone remotely involved.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"True, but that's not the point at all. There were existing mailboxes on the street, and therefore a numbering scheme, at least as far back as 2003, probably much earlier. At some point, the OP got a house number. It should have been obvious that the number didn't follow the normal sequence on the street, which really should have raised a red flag.

Real estate listings for unimproved property sometimes include the street number, if it has been assigned. If the listing included the street number, and it didn't match the existing sequence, then that should have been an earlier red flag.:

Picking on these details has no bearing on the state of things now. I had no address until 3 months after my own house was finished. No mail boxes in our area and most homes do not have numbers on the homes.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Well the addresses on the street are not in sequence nor are the plot numbers. The street is numbered quite strangely. We did receive a survey, and it shows no steep grades on the property, even though it is the survey for the correct lot. And to make it clear, when this first started we called everyone involved to work something out. The land owners filed suit against all parties and we filed a counter claim and cross claim. There are 6 parties involved and the only way to work this out was to name all parties. The land owners are not against us nor are we against them. We all have our eyes on the responsible parties. Some things we decide may tick them off and some things they decide tick us off, but in the end we are all looking for the same out come. They are willing to sell the land, we want the land, and we all agree we should be compensated by the other parties. The other parties are making it quite difficult because they won't give the land owners what they want for the land, nor are they willing to make us whole for our damages. That is where the problem lies. I know it seems crazy that this could happen and no one catch it, but there were about 30 people that could have caught the problem and not one did. That should show how confusing it all was. Knowing what we know now, we can clearly see which property is ours, but it wasn't that easy a year ago.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I also agree that the only innocent party here is the land owners and hope that
they will atleast recoup the money they are having to expend in legal fees .
Kindell , what do you plan to do with the lot you actually own ? Are you expecting somebody else to pay for lot you built on and keep the other lot
too ? I think there was alot of blame to go around and someone should have
caught it . Have you , the builder and the real estate agent considered splitting the damages ? For instance - if you owe 100k for the lot and you sell your lot for 50k , then you could each chip in 1/3 of the other 50k . That would seem the fairest quickest way to settle the dispute . Especially for
you since you are getting the benefit of a much nicer , more valuable lot than
you paid for . I agree the land owners should be compensated but I don't
understand why you should profit from not knowing which property you
purchased .


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RE: wrong land! need help.

We did receive a survey, and it shows no steep grades on the property, even though it is the survey for the correct lot.

It wouldn't expect it to show any. You would have received a boundary survey. They usually don't show elevations.

But what about the listing? Did it list the lot/tract number, and were there lot/tract numbers on that survey?


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Kindell, here's one more person who thinks you're doing everything you should and I hope you can get the situation resolved sooner rather than later.

Mistakes happen. Both the sellers and buyers of the land relied on professionals. Those professionals let them both down. Those professionals have liability insurance and/or guarantee bonds to stay licensed, and in the event of a 1 in a million mistake (like this one), that the insurance company uses the money they've received in premiums to make the damaged parties (buyer and seller) as whole as possible.

No one is a villian in this, and no one has filed a frivilous lawsuit. It takes time for the courts to sort out degrees of blame, agree on how much monetary damage has been done, and settle the whole messy thing.

I really hope that before the end of this year, Kindell is writing us about her family having their first T-day and Christmas in their house.

BDPECK


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I'm curious how much the landowners are willing to sell the land to you for.

County appraisal records show it appraised at $33K so true market value is probably somewhere between $35K and $50K. If the landowners are asking a reasonable amount (and I would consider any amount up to 2X the market value to be reasonable given the circumstances), I would think the four professionals involved (and their insurance companies) would quickly figure out that 1/4th of even $100K is a whole less than it is going to cost them in attorney fees to fight this thing all the way to the court house.

Besides, there is still the piece of property that you do own and it too is appraised at $33K. By rights, that should be sold and the money used to pay a part of whatever price the landowners are asking for the lot your house is sitting on. Of course, it might take awhile to sell or, to get a quicker sale, you might have to let it go for less than the appraised value. Still, I would imagine you could find a buyer at $25K. (Not everybody needs a full five acre lot with no ravines)

If so, that would only leave $75K to be split among the responsible parties (the professionals) and their insurance companies. Would they rather spend 2 or 3 times that much on attorney fees with the risk that they might also wind up having to compensate you for the loss of your home?

If this thing isn't settling, it is because there are either some very stupid or some very greedy people in the mix.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I'd say the legitimate property owners are being extremely reasonable in agreeing to a sale.

For one thing, all gains on the sale will be fully taxable. (Remember, they bought it for the benefit of their daughters.) By contrast, if the land passed as part of their estate under current law, there would be no federal estate taxes, unless the decedents' total estate exceeded $3.5 million. I hope the Owens took this calculation into consideration in setting their price.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"I'd say the legitimate property owners are being extremely reasonable in agreeing to a sale.

For one thing, all gains on the sale will be fully taxable. (Remember, they bought it for the benefit of their daughters.) By contrast, if the land passed as part of their estate under current law, there would be no federal estate taxes, unless the decedents' total estate exceeded $3.5 million. I hope the Owens took this calculation into consideration in setting their price. "

That would be part of the increase above the base value of the land in the sale price.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Why don't they just swap lots and the insurance *(^(*% folks pay the diff. to the owners of the org. lot that was built on. As Worthy said, this would benefit them the most for taxes. How much diff. are the lots worth...in today's world?? This has gotta be a hellava lot less than what lawyers are going to walk away with.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Kindell - If the landowners are willing to sell the land, and you are willing to buy it, would it be possible for you and the landowners to come to an agreement whereby you buy the land from them? And possibly whereby you also buy our their rights and interests in the various lawsuits?

That way, you could move into your dream house.
They could step away from the legal fray.
And your claims against the professionals upon whom you relied would be more straight-forward.
You'd also have a relatively simple and straight-forward amount of monetary damages to sue (or settle) for.

The downside is that you'd have to come up with the cash. (unless the land-owners would owner-finance something privately with you.), and you'd risk not coming out whole, or paying more for the land than you get in damages.

But it is good news that we aren't talking about a $500K lot...


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I believe it could put Kindel at a disadvantage if she buys the land and then tries to settle with the defendants. Right now Kindel and the land owner have claims against the defendants. If she settles she would be going it alone without the advantage of the completely innocent land owner being in the picture.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"Right now Kindel and the land owner have claims against the defendants."

Kindel has a claim against whomever can be held liable.

The landowner has a free house.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

This is Kindells fiance OP2. brickeyee, when are you gonna realize that the owners do not have a free house? This is called unjust inrichment. At the very least the courts will order the house sold. Currently the Bank has said that they were prepared not to let the land owners claim this. Also when this happened all the landowners saw was $$$. Also if it was that easy, how come they havent moved in. I felt the same way as you when this all started, but once I put myself in the landowners shoes , and saw that there was a family with 7 children, with way bad things that had already happened to them all, I changed my mind. Of course Im biased but thats the way I see it.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

If the landowners are thinking $$$, why is that bad anyway? I'd be pretty irritated if someone (even a family with 7 kids who had "way bad things already happen to them") came along and destroyed a long term investment of mine. I feel for you all, I really do. But regardless of how many professionals dropped the ball, you are FAR more at fault that the landowners are...implying anything else is beyond ridiculous.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know, brickeyee is correct. The house belongs to the landowners. I talked with a real estate pro from SC. The liability will ultimately depend upon the laws of the State. In SC, the lawyer and the real estate agent in the initial land purchase would (or their insurance) be liable for financial damages.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I am horribly sorry for the pickle everyone is in. I don't think that either the op and her family or the older couple who owned the lot she built on intended any harm. As an aside, the idea that people must "visit" their empty lots to have a legitimate vested interest in the value of them amuses me. Does anyone "visit" their money at the bank? Of course not. Anyway, unless I am missing something--such as, did the op have a buyers' agent? If so, then maybe make that person share the cost of the mistake; otherwise, so far it does seem that no one is asserting fraud on the part of the agents so the couple that built the house may actually be pretty much solely responsible for not knowing what they were buying. How that shakes out for them and what is "equitable," I don't know as I am not Solomon. I am not convinced that it is either a slam dunk that they lose all or that it is a slam dunk that giving the whole house over to the people on whose land it appeared is "unjust enrichment."

I can very much sympathize with the op's feelings that such a huge thing couldn't be their mistake, but I am afraid that it really might be. I don't think that the lesson is to "blame the professionals" who actually had quite different duties than ensuring the buyer followed through on building on her own land. I think the lesson is to take responsibility for knowing what you are buying.

Let's look at the players:

The bank. The op asked for and got the bank to loan her money to buy land and build a house. She showed the bank the survey and title of the lot she promised to buy and build on using the bank loan. Why would or should the bank have any clue as to whether or not the op proceeded to build on the lot the op bought and promised the bank she would build on? Is it not the responsibility of the person getting the loan to use it for the purpose it was given? I would think the bank would consider itself injured by the op, not the other way around?

Title Company. The op hired the title company to research the title to the land that she said she was going to buy, as identified by the survey. The title company did exactly that and presumably found that the title for the land she ultimately bought was clear and no one seems to disupute that. How is it the title company's fault that the op did not then build on the lot she asked it to research?

The builder. If the op took the builder to the wrong lot claiming to own it, I don't know what responsibility in TX the builder has to verify that fact. The house site could easily be located off frontage. I don't know, but I doubt there is anything specifically requiring a builder to verify siting against all bounds and markers.

The permit-granting authority. The permit-granting authority would look at locations given on the plan which was drawn on the lot the op actually bought and held title to. If setbacks were followed and wetlands weren't crossed, etc., those were its concerns...it is not charged with making sure that the applicant doesn't turn around and build on a different lot than it was legally permitted to. That the town has not brought any action against her for violating the terms of her permits is to her good.

Septic-well-utility etc. I would have to assume they also located things by working off measurements from the frontage without regard to corners and bounds. Again, I don't know but doubt that they are required to verify all locations off all bounds and markers.

The buyers. The buyers saw a real estate sign on a nice lot. Before signing the P&S, they should have and apparently did obtain the survey, which appears to have been correct regardless of its age. They then should have walked the bounds against the survey to ensure that what they were buying on paper was what they were seeing in the real world. That is the point of walking the bounds.

I think we can agree that there is nothing tricky to reading a survey. It is a very simple form of map. One locates a reference point and from there finds a bound, around here an iron stake driven into a granite post flush to the ground and sunk below the frost line. From there one follows the line at the angle drawn for the distance noted, usually in feet, nothing tricky, to the next marker, and so on. Unless the two lots have EXACTLY the same footprint and bounds placed in EXACTLY the same places, it would quickly become evident if there was a mismatch of land to survey.

We actually did this several times, on 32 acres of undeveloped, raw, wooded, uneven land (think "hill and dale") as we negotiated changes in lot lines. Five acres would not be that hard to do.

This is the step at which the mistake occurred. Even if there had been a new survey done at the beginning, it wouldn't have helped the op. The only reason the mistake was apparent to the surveyors at the end was because they tried to match the lot they saw the house on to the property bought and couldn't. If the house hadn't been there, they would have surveyed the lot she bought. Then she would have still built on the wrong lot because she didn't walk the bounds against the survey or didn't do it properly somehow. So no help there.

Real estate signs can and do get misposted and moved. At the end of the day, the buyer needs to know what they are buying unless they have specifically hired someone else to do that for them. I haven't seen mention of a someone else who was hired to do that or had a duty to do that. It would be nice for the op if there was a negligent "someone" out there who can make this right for everyone. Or if some measure can be put on the agents, depending on how their duties are defined in TX.

Finally, I don't see how or why the landowners could or should be forced, either legally or by emotional pressure, to sell if that was not their plan. I understand, though, that the op probably does not have enough money to buy another buildable lot, move the house, and try to sell the lesser lot for whatever she can get. Still, I am having a hard time figuring out why that would or should be anyone else's problem.

Can anyone point to any reason that any of these professionals--other than the surveyors who did match things up or perhaps REAs--have a legal duty to match physical property to the title and lot? I am genuinely curious as to whether that is the case or not.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

i havent read through all of this thread but has anybody mentioned moving the house? in my part of the country moving houses is done all the time.
it would be costly but probably not much more than legal fees. in addition if the land owner thought that you were going to move the house they may decide to sell if offered a high enough price.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"when are you gonna realize that the owners do not have a free house? This is called unjust inrichment."

Putting an improvement on someone elses land makes it theirs.

Period.

No court is going to allow the land owners to be forced to give up their land for someone else's mistake they had no part in.

They did nothing to unjustly enrich themselves, the person building screwed up with no involvement of the land owner.

At the very least expect a very expensive lot after taxes on the sale are rolled in.

The bank is also likely going to yell and scream, but has no claim on the land or the structure.

If the land owners get a decent attorney (and they probably will if they think they might have their land taken through no action on their part) they are very liable to prevail in court.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

vhehn - re: moving the house. OP hasn't indicated what kind of foundation her home has but, in central Texas about 99.9% of homes are built on a monolithic concrete slab so I suspect hers is too. I'm not sure that it is impossible to move a home built on a slab but I'm absolutely sure doing so would be a lot more difficult than moving a house built on a pier and beam foundation.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Someone built a home on my property(survey last week confirms is totally within my property) rather than theirs just down the street. I just found this out.
Prev owner moved out leaving big time Mortgage Co holding a 95% mortgage.
House Vacant.
Do I have a new house?
Happening as I speak. The Mort Co is selling the unimproved lot thinking they have a house on it.
Lawyer says pretty clear.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

It's not like this is the first time such a mixup has happened. Here's an instance from 1905.

And another more recent one.

And a more complicated case on which the appeal Court judges couldn't agree.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

IF you could steal land by building on it 'by accident' it would happen even more frequently.

Just think about the consequences.

Build on the lot you like, claim a horrible error, then force the land owner out.

The OP needs to hire the best RE attorney they can find, and be very gentle with the land owner if they do not want a nasty counter suit.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Actually, to summarize from reading this entire thread - Kindell & the neighbor have an agreement. insurance co. has to pay. theres no where to move the house to - the actual property Kindell built on is unbuildable.

In reality, shes needs an INSURANCE lawyer to settle this. Alternately, she can file a claim against the RE agent and say she was falsely lead to purchase property "A" while being shown property "B" - The RE agents E&O insurance should cover it.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Doesnt sound unbuildable if theres a house on it! To me a piece of land with ravines would be interesting.Sounds like a kids wonderland, wouldnt bother me. Matter a fact we almost bough6 acres with a big ravine but the owner decided not to sell.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

"the actual property Kindell built on is unbuildable"

I think you mean the actual property Kindell purchased is unbuildable.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

The insured in this case are the parties being sued. The OP must prevail against the sued parties before the insurance companies will be forced to pay. The insurance companies' policies undoubtedly have terms that dictate that they can determine if a settlement should be made or if the claims against their clients should be litigated.

From what I can tell from the thread, the OP does not have a claim against the title insurance company.

Since the OP has not seen fit to post any details on the lot or tract numbers included in the original offer of sale and/or contract attached to the property she purchased, nor the lot or tract numbers on the survey she received at time of purchase, it is hard to guess how all this will play out.

However, if the offer of sale and/or the contract had the correct legal description, including lot/tract number, and she was provided with a survey, however old, that also had the correct legal description including lot/tract numbers, then I doubt seriously that she will be able to fully prevail in a court of law.

She may get something for the sign being on the wrong lot, but not the nearly the full amount she is seeking.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Just came across this thread and was intrigued as we are currently looking for land ourselves. We were curious as to what the final outcome was or if it had even been reached yet. Did some quick searching and I believe the house is currently on the market - MLS 159804 in Belton, TX. It would be interesting to know what the final agreement or settlement was.

Here is a link that might be useful: House Listing


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Interesting thread. I wonder how it all turned out. When it comes down to it, the OP is the one who is responsible for this mistake. If I had been that land owner, that house would have been long gone....a long time ago.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

According to the county property records, a bank now owns the home. The OP no longer owns any property on the street. Their old unbuilt-on lot is now owned by a Mr. Guzman. The Owens, the owners of the land that the house was built on, also no longer own any land on that street.

The current tax appraisal on the house and property is $502,451.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I read this whole thread in horror and fascination. What a horrible mess!

Right after we bought our 14 acres (that had never been on the market; we approached the owners and they agreed to sell), we discovered on a visit one day that there was a for sale sign sitting on it from a local real estate agency. We got on the RE company's website and looked up what was for sale and it was the 40 acres to our N and W, but they had pictures of our land representing it. The land we bought was a much better piece with road access (I had previously grown wheat and soybeans on it for the former owners and knew the land well). Much of the 40 acres actually for sale was very low with poor drainage and was land-locked, and yet was being advertised as having road access (our access) because the agent was *that* clueless. We moved the sign to the correct boundary and gave the RE agent a call. She first tried to argue with us, so we showed her our survey and she had to back off.

That was 5 years ago and the land is still for sale. haha

I can't imagine if I lived further away and discovered too late that someone had thought they'd bought it and built a house on it!

V


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I, like the above poster, read through the whole thread with "horror and fascination. I hope the OP comes back and lets us know how it turned out for her and her family. I would say that I am surprised that nobody walked the land with survey in hand, but we had two of our neighbors clear their land (and part of ours) without doing a survey. We approached both of them and asked that they get a survey before they actually put up any fences and they both agreed to do so. We were not happy losing some of our trees, but it both cases it was a small area and we would rather have good neighbors than rich lawyers.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

What some of you fail to understand is that law and the implementation and practice of law are very, very complicated and nuanced. I read that several of you decided to criticise the OP for two things: 1. Relying on the real estate agent, original lawyer, etc. for determining the correct area of the land and 2. suing the "correct" land owner.

Regarding number one, I am in training to be a CPA, and this applies to other professionals too (doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, etc.). Professionals of the above nature have a duty to do their job properly (duty of care). Conversely, when they do not do their job as expected, they can be expected to be sued. This is the normal course of business. This is not the OP's fault; she relied on several professionals for the details and that is not wrong. Most people would not know how to determine what land is whose. If there is a failure here, it is on several of the professionals and organizations that allowed the building to start/occur. If no survey was done, as should have been done, it falls on whatever organization or individual should have done, or arranged, for the survey. When people rely on professionals for service, they should expect those professionals to act on their behalf and out their duty of care. Mistakes happen, thats why every professional, organization, and individual has various insurance policies.

Secondly, the question of including the landowner in the suit is not one of "morals", "ethics", "antagonizing the landowner", etc. They most likely had to be included in the suit, regardless of how the OP felt about the landowners. And anyhow, her lawyer would know better about who to sue than any of us!!!

Things like this happen more than you would think. The city demolished an incorrect house a few years back. Needless to say, they were compensated!


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Be sure to use the nuanced and complicated defense if you are ever charged with a crime.

The OP dodged all the pointed questions about whether or not they received a copy of the original subdivision survey. Land doesn't move. The old survey should have had all the details necessary to show which lot was which. Someone didn't read it or take the time to understand it.

One news story published on line mentioned Jacobsen, the OP's husband or SO, as being on the property with the builder with a survey in hand, so it seems to exist and have been available to them.

Choosing to sue someone is always a moral judgment. Even if circumstances make the suit inevitable, It takes a callous soul to proceed without thinking about the effect on the defendants, especially if they are totally without blame in the issue.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I wish I had the guts to get on facebook and friend Kindell to maybe ask her to get on and tell us all what happened....


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RE: wrong land! need help.

She sure sounds like a "callous soul" to me. From Kindell 5 minutes ago:

"Thanks so much for still thinking about us. I will get on today and update, the battle still continues and has gotten really old. I will put the whole story there so I don't have to write it twice. :). Again thanks for still caring!"

Too bad life isn't as black and white as we make it out to be on this board sometimes. It would make passing judgement on other people SO much easier.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Hello everyone. Sorry its been so long, but a special thanks to mdev for finding me on facebook. I read and caught up on the post, some are quite disheartening, but I know everyone has their own opinion, and who am I to judge. This is a very complicated case, and I appreciate everyones honesty. Things are moving quite slowly these days, and to be honest we are quite burned out on the whole case. It is very stressful and a tough situation to deal with everyday. But what doesnt kill you will only make you stronger!

Now with the update:

The land owners did settle behind our backs and I see the land information has been previously posted. We have signed a "gag" type order and cannot discuss and settlements. But I can assure you all, we havent received one penny from anyone. The land owners have moved on with their lives and we wish them the best. We no longer are fighting for the house as our court date was moved to January 2011, because one of the Realtors is now pregnant, and we couldnt keep our family waiting any longer. We sold our land (for MUCH less then what we bought it for) and the new owners havent quite figured out what to do with it. But we did have it surveyed and the whole property line staked before we sold it, so there was no questions as to the property lines. We are now looking to buy an existing house and move on with our lives. We are still in a law suit with the Realtors and the builder. The Realtors goal is to run us out of money. They use stall tactic after stall tactic and make stupid motions to the court so that our attorney will have to travel and run up our expenses. Our attorney is out of Houston and we are near Austin. If it was legal to smack one, I am sure I would. Their tactics to run up a bill is taking a toll on us, but we will not give up. To date we have paid approximately $65,000 to our attorney, and we havent even finished depositions and of course the week of court will be outrageous. The only ones who win are the attorneys. The Realtor attorneys want mediation, even though there have had 2 failed mediations already that cost us about 6 grand apiece. They set date after date only to cancel a week beforehand. There are lots of ups and downs, because we get our hopes up something is going to happen only to have it cancel a few days before. If we deny going to mediation they set a court date for the judge to make us. We finally agreed to try one more time so that we didnt have to pay the attorney to fight it and the maybe still go to mediation. We will eventually have our day in court and in front of a jury, and until then all we can do is wait.

It was such a sad emotional day when we walked away from the house. That house meant so much to me and my family and it really broke our hearts. Andy (my fianc) would drive by and look at the progress, but it was just too hard and finally I convinced him he had to stop. This isnt just a case of who was wrong and who gets what. This is our life, and our dreams going down the drain. I know to everyone else its just a story, but please remember there is a family behind this story who is living it every day. Thanks for caring.

-Kindell


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RE: wrong land! need help.

creek_side:

Even in criminal cases, law can be extremely complicated and "nuanced". As mdev said, a lot of people have the tendency to look at things in black and white. In civil and business law, there often is no black and white. In criminal law, it is often more clear cut, but not always. There is a reason lawyers have to go to school so long.

And the decision to sue is not always a moral one. Some people have this idea that suing for any reason is bad and frivolous. It is not. In a lot of civil suits, there are no morals involved; a bad decision, failure of duty of care of a professional, or an organization/company acting negligently are not moral issues, they are ethical and business issues.

Even if the OP had a survey in her/his hands, it doesn't necessarily matter. They relied on professionals to carry out the details of the business transaction. When the professionals do not do so, they can be expected to be sued.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I figured that a bank now had the land and the house. I am sorry that this happened to you and your family Kindell, but the bulk of the responsibility of this whole mess still lays with you. You should have had a survey done and double checked it by either being present when the surveyor surveyed the land, and/or followed up with walking the property with the survey in hand. If you were unknowledgable about purchasing land, as this whole situation shows, you should have hired a real estate attorney to handle the transaction.

Your bank and your builder went forward with the documents that YOU supplied them with. Professionals and agencies only know the paperwork they are supplied with. Sad to say, but true. This was a tough lesson in life, and I hope that when you move on that you seek out a good real estate attorney to handle any future property transactions. No, I am not an attorney, but I have owned, and currently own property. I have never purchased any land without a fresh survey, and title insurance.

I do feel that the bank was stupid for not double checking before granting a loan to you, as it would have been in their best interests to do so, but again, you supplied the documents. You agreed to make payments on money they loaned you to build a house, and essentially the bank owns the house and land until it is all paid for.

In NO way at all was this any of the correct land owner's fault, and for someone to blame them in any way is outrageous. It does not matter what their intent for their land was. It was THEIR land, and as such they had rights. Just because they were not going to build a house on it tomorrow does not give anyone else a right to move in and take it. It is their land. Period. If it had been my land this never would have been a long dragged out case. If things were not settled (quickly) to my satisfaction,I would have had a bulldoser in there. Period. No, I don't give a rat's patooty about courts and such. It is not their land and they have no say. My constitution says so.

Again, I am sorry that this happened to you. However, it is time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and move on. It was only a house. You still have your family, and are still able to participate in life. You have wasted $65,000. This would have gone a long way towards another home. It sounds like it's time to walk away, turn your back on it, accept your responsibility in this, and start a new beginning. If you don't this is going to eat you alive.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

mdev -- Kindell wasn't really the target of my barb. Read my post carefully and you will figure out what I was really saying.

krycek1984 -- If you are a lawyer, say so. If you are not, stop lecturing us on the law. And stop twisting people's words. Nobody said the suit was frivolous.

And you might also note that Kindell still has not stated one way or another if she or Jacobsen had access to or possession of a copy of the original subdivision survey. Sometimes what isn't said is as important as what is said.

Lastly, I have no idea why they hired a Houston attorney to represent them in Bell County or Austin, if that is where the case is being heard. That sounds like really bad judgment to me.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

Why do so many posters on this forum think that attorneys should do all their work pro bono? Drive up the bill, rather have good neighbors than rich lawyers, the only ones who win are the attorneys...good grief. Those are some of the most ridiculous, ignorant and untrue statements ever. For every single bad attorney out there (which there are...as there are in any profession), there are literally thousands of fantastic, extremely hardworking, dedicated attorneys who are completely RULED by a class of ethics that 99% of posters on this forum would find almost impossible to abide by. I am not an attorney, but I am married to one and have many, many close friends who are and not one of them would ever do anything to deliberately run up a bill. My husband regularly works 100 hour weeks, sacrifices time with our family, neglects his own health for his clients and does it all without receiving a penny more than his regular corporate salary. The potshots at attorneys who are, I'm sure, working their tails off to assist Kindell out of the crap situation that she and her family allowed themselves to fall into because of their own lack of due diligence prior to their land purchase, is getting old.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

This is the way I look at it...a realtor marked a lot for sale and represented that lot as being for sale. That was incorrect. Then a builder built on a lot that didn't match the boundary survey (I am assuming it was only a boundary survey since the ravines were not shown on it). I would assume the contract to build gave direction on where the house was to be built (book and page is typical)? Kindel? They are both negligent, IMO, it is just a matter of how much each.

I was telling my DH about this earlier tonight and he said this could easily happen (he has been both a real estate agent and builder) if a topo survey isn't used (or if the parties involved don't know how to read one). He also said a builder should never rely on a real estate sign because kids have been known to pick them up and move them. He placed all the blame on the builder. I don't feel so generous towards the REA.

I admit, I now don't feel bad about the $400 or so we had to pay the surveyor to mark the foundation location (in addition to everything else we paid him). The town required it (before allowing the footings to be poured, and then required a letter from the surveyor verifying the footing was placed where they marked it) and the bank required it (before the foundation disbursement).

The level of incompetence in this case is amazing. There are almost TOO many people at fault to figure it out. That makes for a very expensive lawsuit.

What a cluster.


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RE: wrong land! need help.

I'm not a lawyer, but like I said, I'm training to be a CPA, so I have taken several business law courses and have had to understand the importance of professional certification and what this means and both the benefits, and responsibilities, of being a professional.

This thread could go on forever between people who find fault with the various organizations and professionals in the transaction, or the individual. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the essential fact of the matter is that there was negligence by several professionals in this transaction.

I suggest those who are so quick to blame the OP attempt to put themselves in her position (I know, when you see the world in black and white, this is real tough). In your mind, you may do everything perfectly. And maybe in real life, you think you do everything perfectly. If the tables were turned, would you be so adamant that it was your own fault?

And creek_side, no one actually said the word "frivolous", but I can read between the lines. When several posters state that it is the OP's fault and no one else's, it can then be reasonably assumed that they believe the suit is frivolous, because they don't believe the lawsuit has any merit, and is therefore frivolous!


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