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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1422
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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I'm looking at a property that is . I went there to

Customer Question

I'm looking at a property that is for sale. I went there to view the property today. The neighbor came out and stated that the driveway to the property is on his property. He has another driveway in front of his house that has his house number on it. The driveway in question has the house number of the property being sold. He stated that the previous owner and he shared the driveway in question. Apparently if he does own the driveway the initial impression is that he is unwilling to do that now. The driveway is the only way to access the house and garage without major reconstruction of the premises. As well as if what he is saying is true..part of the front porch is on his property ad well. He then went on to say that the previous owner sold the parcel on the opposite side of the property where the septic system is. I have no idea what would be the best course of action would be to figure out exactly what is going on..I suppose a land survey would be a start. However..if all that what he said is true..would a new owner have any options regarding the driveway..porch..and septic? Or would all these factors render the property unsaleable
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
Hello. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience. I specialize in family law and appeals, and I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, contract law, and other types of law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms. Oh, keep in mind that at the end of this discussion I'm going to ask you to please rate me as that's the only way I get credit for my time here today. Thanks!I don't know what state you're in because it's not showing here but most states would treat this the same, with some exceptions. There sounds like there was or is an easement on the property you're looking at, but the question is, is the easement recorded? You can check the land records, real estate records in your town or county. Not all easements are recorded, so if it's not listed there, it doesn't mean that there isn't an easement. These type of easements usually go from one owner to the next, but not always. If you can't find a document at the land records office, or town/real estate records office, then yes, the next step is to get a survey. You don't know if the neighbor is right, and what he tells you doesn't matter. It's what is the truth that matters. The way to find the truth of the situation is the records office, and if you are still interested in the property, then get a new survey. You can ask the current owners to see their survey. If the survey isn't too old (a few years) then you can often use that survey, but if it's older, you'll want to have a new survey done. I would suggest to think carefully before buying this property unless you're prepared to have a survey done and do some digging into the history of the easement and whether this easement follows from owner to owner. The issue of the porch is truly problematic. I know when I looked at property, if there was an easement I walked away. If the easement was just on the driveway, I still walked away but if the easement involved more than the driveway and there was a contention about ownership of part of the house, that will truly make the property difficult to sell. It's up to you but it should be a fantastic house that you can't get anywhere else if you're walking into boundary issues. That is truly a problem and will affect ability to be sold in the future. As far as the septic, I'm not sure from your description what is going on there other than it was sold, or whether there is another boundary dispute there. It sounds like this property is going to be difficult to sell at a later point. If you want to check with the owners about the easement, what it says in the deed, and you really love the property to get a new survey, then you can do that, but you should discuss this with a local real estate lawyer before venturing into buying this property. It might turn out to be a poor investment because of all the problems with shared boundaries. I know I would walk away but that doesn't mean you have to. The easement could show up attached to the deed or in the title report or both. Ask the owner to see as much of that as possible -- deed, title report, any easements and what the wording is, and have a lawyer review this for you if you are serious about this property. I wouldn't take the property without having an attorney review the documents and without a new survey. Before you get that survey though, consider whether you want these issues. If they don't exist and the neighbor is wrong, then there's no issue, and you don't know at this point if you can trust the neighbor. Who knows? It could be that he's wrong. But be prepared to spend some time reviewing the title, any easement language, the deed and the survey, and your best bet is to have someone review it for you. Here is what is said about easements: If you discover an easement, check the wording carefully. When a document grants an easement to a particular person, the restriction may end when either he or she dies or sells the property. If it is granted to someone for a term of years or to someone and his “heirs and assigns,” then the easement probably remains in effect no matter who owns the property. However, each state may have its own rules for easements and some towns even have their own rules. You would be well-advised to talk to a real estate lawyer if you still have an interest in the house.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
Does this answer your question? If you need more information, let me know.I hope this helps and clarifies. If you could, I'd appreciate it if you can rate me when finished. There is no additional charge for rating me. Please accept my answer, rate my answer and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you and with your question. I work hard to give you a thorough and honest answer. I thank you in advance for rating me. Please let me know if there is more that I can do to answer your question and if you need more information. If not, I thank you for your rating. I can’t get credit for answering your question without your fair and honest rating. Thank you and best of luck to you!
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
I see now that this is in NY. Great! There are several different kinds of easements in NY, so if there truly is an easement, this is something you will want to discuss with a real estate attorney. See if you can get a free consultation, although that might be difficult if you're asking someone to review documents. Boundary disputes in NY often result as a problem of something encroaching on someone's property. In this case, it could be the porch, but you won't know that till you look at the owner's survey or have your own survey done. Best of luck to you and thanks in advance for rating me.