Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My neighbor doesn’t understand our boundary.

My neighbor doesn’t understand our boundary … what can I do?

This can be troublesome as is any dispute with a neighbor. Though a home is recognized as our proverbial castle, neighbors can have a major impact on the total enjoyment, or lack thereof, that you will experience with your property. How you approach the problem will depend on the nature of the problem, and what the urgency for resolution is.

If you are looking to do something near the boundary, i.e.- install a fence, driveway, etc., then you’ll need to resolve the matter quickly so you can proceed with your plans. If your neighbor is installing something incorrectly, on your property, you can’t stand by and watch them do it. If you watch them put it in the wrong place you can’t then ask them to remove it. You must act and act quickly. It might involve getting an attorney and getting an injunction to stop the work until you can resolve the matter. Nobody really wants to bring in an attorney to deal with a neighbor, but it might be necessary if they won’t reason with you and action is required. Hopefully, when they see the error of their ways they will appreciate what necessitated your decision.

Usually, boundary line disputes are resolved by a correct survey. With their fancy new electronic equipment surveyors are pretty accurate these days. Once in awhile a property owner will remain belligerent even in the face of a professional opinion contrary to their belief. Not much you can do if their ego won’t allow them to admit a mistake, but don’t capitulate on your position as it could affect you when you go to sell the property.

Not all boundary problems are survey matters. We were recently apprised of a situation involving a friend in another state. He was installing a driveway in an easement and the neighbor said he couldn’t – she owned it. The neighbor, a real estate agent, was interpreting the word “except” as “accept” and figured that property was in her deed, not excepted out of it as the deed stated. It is a simple matter of interpretation, but the agent, in her infinite wisdom, got excited and hired an attorney. Our friend got the appropriate “proof” documents from the Title Company that insured his purchase and has delivered them to the attorney. He shouldn’t be delayed much longer, and hopefully the smart agent neighbor will accept the results and appreciate all is well except her document interpretation skills.

Our Advice: All is not what it appears. Make sure you know your boundary lines, as they appear and as they really are, before you close escrow. This is real estate – boundary lines to real property are a vital component of ownership. Sometimes it might require having a surveyor confirm the boundary as an insurance policy. It can be well worth it for your overall peace of mind and quiet enjoyment of your property.

There is nothing finer than a good neighbor. It will affect your quality of life and that of your family. Work to resolve differences, but don’t concede just to make peace – you could be stuck in the long run.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates,, 775-781- 5472

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