I bought my property a little less then a year ago. We were told the property line was about 14 feet off the left side of the house. There is a line of landscape timbers that ‘mark’ it. The plot plan puts the line at approximately the same point.
The neighbor across the street claims to own a small piece of land between me and the neighbor to the left of us. This was known to us at the time we purcased the house. At some point in time it was a right of way to access her property. It’s aproximatly 8’x58’x12’57’
She has offered to sell it to us for a ridiculous sum $12,000. ($20 a square foot. A buildable lot in my town sells for around $10 a square foot.)
A week ago my significant other planted a tree 3 feet from this line. The neighbor came over and told him that was on her property and we only owned 3 feet from our house. The tree is a 4’ cherry tree
I came home. He told me. I grabbed a copy of our plot plan and found the Surveyers stone for the area is in the northern border of our property. Based on the plot plan measured it out and found the border to be where we thought it was.(14ft off the house)
My significact other ran into her again. He told her we mesured it and showed the the plot plan. She disagreed claiming the border is only 3 feet from our house. He said even if we are wrong do you have an issue with the tree on your property? She said no.
Today we got a hand written letter from her saying she talked to her lawyer and she changed her mind. The letter demanded we take the tree on her property down within 7 days or she will take legal action.
I called my attorney(also my future sister in law). Her advice was to let the crazy lady take all the legal action she wants. The tree doesn’t appear to be on her property and she has yet to show any legal ownership of the area in question. If a new survey is to be done the neighbor would have to eat that cost.
In any case the plot plan is not created by an actual survey. They are typicaly rough mesurements that the town keeps on record for zoning purposes.
The survey data that I have is the legal document for determining property lines. It is not in the form of a convenient map like the plot plan. It reads like the following
and so on.
How do you translate that? is this something I could to another rough check with using a compass?
This lady is the only neighbor that we find to be unfreindly. Why does there always seem to be one nasty person in every neighborhood?
First step: check your title insurance.
Next, check to see if she owns the property or simply has an easement. I suspect (note that this is not legal advice) that she has an easement and that it was only applicable until she got an alternative way into her property. If this is the case, I would countersue, not to make any money but to shut her up.
What SaintCad said.
IMNAL, but we had a similar problem. It was an easment, though the neighbor insisted she owned the strip of ground where her drivway once was.
When the neighbor decided to sue, she found that the property in question had reverted back to us when the road came through on the other side of her property, 12 years before. She had put in a new driveway to that road, and abandoned the one in question. Therefore, the court made her move a flower bed that was on the easment, even though we didn’t mind it. I guess, allowing her to use the land for the flower bed would eventually make it her’s, if we didn’t claim it.
What you are referring to is called Adverse Possession and if you really liked the flowers, you probably could’ve thwarted any claim by simply giving her written permission to have her flowers on your land.
On to the OP:
As SaintCad said, you can take a look at your Title Insurance. There should be an Abstract of Title in there, which will give you a history of your property. Any easements will be listed within. I would guess that she only has an easement though your property considering that your retracing seemed to verify the 14’ distance. However, take this with a grain of salt, since this came from a city zoning plat. To be 100% sure, you’ll need to consult with a Professional Land Surveyor, who will be able to establish your true boundary lines and place monuments at your property corners.
I’ll try to come back and tell you how to decipher your legal description, but for now, it’s my equivalent of 4:45 on a Friday afternoon (yes, I have a bizarre work schedule) and it’s Miller Time.
The legal description you have quoted can be “translated” into a precise survey–but only by a professionally licensed land surveyor, who will trace the measurements and mark them on your land for you. It’s a complicated process that you can’t do by yourself with a compass. It involves using high precision equipment, and a lot of technical/legal knowledge.
But if your lawyer can get the neighbor to pay for it…
Metes and bounds descriptions are valuable though arcane. Essentially what they do is to describe a polygon that constitutes the boundary of your property, by starting at an easily identified point (“an iron stake located in the margin of Plum Street 124.25 feet north 7 degrees 30 minutes 03 seconds west of its juncture with Monroe Avenue”) and then by lying out precise distances in precise compass directions defining the perimeter of your property. The language is strange and complex even for lawyers, but they have the same intent as classicial lawyerese – to pin down as precisely as possible the sort of detail on which such disputes are often founded.
I’ve run into some interesting situations with them, like the riverfront parcel that appeared to be 500’x 86’ – until you looked carefully, and found that the metes and bounds defined the south boundary as the midline of the river. The parcel in its entirety consisted of about ten feet width of cliff over the 500’ length of riverfront, the remaining parcel width being rock scree and river bottom. Combined with the three parcels between it and the street, though, it made six beautiful scenic-view building lots.
Another parcel, lakefront and at the end of a dirt road, at first looked like the ugliest flag lot ever designed by an unscrupulous developer, until you read the metes and bounds, which turned out to describe the dirt access road itself as a part of the parcel, subject to access rights for three of the seven properties that used it (but, oddly, not the other four).
Yes I own two parcels. Parcel 2 which makes up the left quater of my property(the peice with the border in question) is defined begining with the stone of bound on the northernly line of Eaton Place and at land now or formerly Foster(I purchased the parcels from Foster.
I have title insurance that will covers me in most aspects of this situation. I’m not truly worried about this. I’m more interested in learning this survey lingo. My curiousity is whats driving the thread.
The only thing that I’m a little concerned about is the fact my road is a private way. I now know I own to the middle of the street and the deed claims The private way shall forever be kept open to all abutters and each abutter shall keep in good repair so much of said private way as adjoins his land.
Right now the city plows and sands the road. They repaired some pot holes in it this spring. I assume the city doesn’t relise its not a public way. I’m quite happy with the way its handled now I don’t really want that to change. Shoveling my driveway is enough I don’t want to get stuck with my section of street too.
We had a somewhat similar situation to the OP when we first bought our house.
We ended up hiring a professional surveying outfit to put markers down on the disputed boundary. Would could have paid them more and had them mark out our whole plot but we didn’t need to, we only needed them to mark out the disputed corner.
Cost-wise it didn’t break the bank and it was totally worth it when they put the boundary line marker right in the middle of the neighbor’s vegetable garden (we TOLD him it was on our property)
IANAL or surveyor,
But there is a good reason to get this settled. If you ever choose to sell your property, you will benefit from a clear and undisputed title. I have heard that a challenge to a piece of property does not have to be well-founded to cause a title search company to become concerned. So if your neighbor files a lien against your property and it isn’t cleared, it could damage a future sale. So, get a surveyer to mark out your property and let the neighbor know you did. Then check the courthouse in a year or so just to make sure.
Yes before I consider selling my house the property line will be defined. In the meantime the neighbor is trying to be a witch and I feel content in waiting to see if she pays for a survey before I get around to it.
A simple boundary survey isn’t that expensive, is it?
A couple hundred?
I could imagine having one done, simply to shut this woman up.
Also, have you done a thorough title search?
Have you asked her, or has she offered, any proof of her claim to title?
IANASurveyor, I am a Realtor, and we run into problems like this all the time.
In my state and county, the Real Property Listing Dept. at the courthouse keeps track of past surveys and has copies of the maps drawn by surveyors for years past. (The surveyors are not required to deposit maps, but they usually do voluntarily.) If a certified survey is available, the property records show that, too. (I’m not sure what a certified survey is, but it’s better than a regular old survey.) If a copy is in the file, you can get one for a few cents or scanned and emailed.
If a certified survey is available, any surveyor can mark the property corners with stakes and show you where the boundary lines are. The cost is typically a few hundred dollars. A complete survey from scratch may be a few thousand. There is even a higher-class one called an ALTA/ACSM survey that shows more detail and is even more expensive.
Without knowing where your property lines are, you can’t proceed, so that is the first thing to do. Next, look for any recorded easments or covenants at the courthouse (a title company can do a search for you – contact the one that issued your last title insurance policy first). If it looks too complicated to handle yourself, the services of an attorney are a must.
I’m surprised a survey wasn’t done when you bought the property. I’ve purchased three houses, and every time, a survey was automatically done. I think it may have been requested by the banks in each case, but I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s law in my state, but not in yours.
In New York law, a certified survey is one duly stamped and attested to by a Certified Land Surveyor, licensed by the state. Validating and updating a survey based on previous metes and bounds is, I believe, substantially less expensive than a “complete survey from scratch.” (In the resubdivision of the riverfront parcels I mentioned above, a complete redistribution of four old parcels into six new ones, using the existing property lines for the exterior bounds of the new set of parcels, cost about $500.)
In Wisconsin, it is not mandated by law. Due to the considerable expense of a full-blown survey, and if the property is of such a nature that the boundary lines are not critical (a large, vacant parcel where a few inches or feet off make little difference or where permanent stakes are evident) not all buyers require it. Lenders might, but again, if an existing survey is good and recent, it is only an option.
I can speak only for how we do things here in Ohio, but while ‘surveys’ are generally done for a sale, they’re not necessarily going to be a survey you’ll want to rely on for anything precise. Unless there is/was some issue that needed to be resolved, the survey would’ve been what was called a ‘mortgage survey,’ which might well only be accurate to +/- 5’ or so; it should be indicated on the survey itself.
A survey was not required for the purchase of the house. The assumption is the border behind the house is at that neighbors fence. The surveyers stone is 2 inches in front or that fence. The chainlink fence on the right boundry is mine it is only 3 ft from the next neighbors house so it could be on that neighbors property.
I thought on the front of my house the border ended at the street but apparently it goes 6 ft into the street.
The lot was surveyed in 1946 when the previous owner bought the house. The bank saw no reason to survey the propety before the purchase. The house was built before the land was divided up so it is gaurentied to be on the lot. The land with the border in question is not sufficient for any structure under the current codes.
Surveys can get very expensive. In my case since a survey stone is within a hundred feet of the border. I’m thinking it would be pretty straight foward. I’d expect it to cost $400-500. In the case of my fathers property the nearest marker is a little over a mile so surveying the land requires staking the frontage all the way down the street through several properies. I’d asked a surveyer about having that done and without looking into it he gave me a guess of $2000-3000.
The witch said the land had been gifted to her by the previous owner of a house on the next street over. That house is sorta behind me and to the left. It makes sense that it could have belonged to them. I doubt it was surveyed at that time and is most likely a quitclaim deed she posseses.
I’ve asked the witch if she had any documentation to back up her claim. She said she would have to get it, then proceeded to ask me about where she could go to get it. I resisted the desire to give the first answer to pop into my head. I’ve yet to have the time to go to the regisrty of deeds. I’m sure I’ll have more answers or questions after I do so.
Imformation from her is a tedious unreliable endevor. She says the property belongs to her, her son and a ex husband who she is no longer on speaking terms with. She was trying to sell me on a sob story about how the property in question is one of her only assests and she wanted to sell it for only 12,000 dollars so she could leave that money to her handicapped son. She doesn’t want her son to have to handle the issues of a property suit. She has given up on the sob story since I’ve told her in no way is the propert worth 12k and her son is probably more capable in handling this then she is. Her son I’ve learned from other neighbors is paralized from the waist down. He is very intelligent and successful and is living on his own in another area.