Driveway looks like it belongs to a neighbor?

18 Replies

So I'm looking at a Fannie foreclosure that's been around for awhile and according to the listing agent fallen out of contract because apparently the neighbor owns about half the driveway. Not the right or left but the bottom.  I'm in New York, the property is in Dutchess County. The current driveway partially circles a fairly steep hill so remaking the drive way, although likely possible, seems like an expensive and hopefully un-necessary thing to do. The driveway is not shared. The neighbors property simply encompasses the bottom of the driveway. 

Any advice on how to proceed? Anyone ever run into this type of issue?

I would request a survey or have them pin the property lines to determine who actually owns it- since it is a foreclosure they probably will not have a survey and may refuse to pay.  A survey costs $350 and to pin the property may only cost $125.  Any land surveyor can do it.  Now IF the neighbor truly does own that you can get the neighbor to agree to an easement.  If they are willing to, you can file it when you purchase the house at closing to make it record it with the County Clerk.

Originally posted by @Arissa Pedroza :

I would request a survey or have them pin the property lines to determine who actually owns it- since it is a foreclosure they probably will not have a survey and may refuse to pay.  A survey costs $350 and to pin the property may only cost $125.  Any land surveyor can do it.  Now IF the neighbor truly does own that you can get the neighbor to agree to an easement.  If they are willing to, you can file it when you purchase the house at closing to make it record it with the County Clerk.

 I clarified a bit with my agent. Apparently the previous buyer backed out because the titling company refused to ensure the title. Now...if I can get a title company to ensure the title will that be adequate to sell the house later?  Is the easement legally binding? Can I survey a place I do not own?

Ok so then there may already be a survey on the property. Check with that title company that wouldn't insure the property. That makes sense that they wouldn't insure it  because of that issue, so yes if you can get the title company to give you a general warranty deed  and Title Insurance then you won't have any issues moving forward.  Yes you can have a property surveyed that you do not own . Yes the easement would be attached to that lot and it would be legal

Originally posted by @Arissa Pedroza :

Ok so then there may already be a survey on the property. Check with that title company that wouldn't insure the property. That makes sense that they wouldn't insure it  because of that issue, so yes if you can get the title company to give you a general warranty deed  and Title Insurance then you won't have any issues moving forward.  Yes you can have a property surveyed that you do not own . Yes the easement would be attached to that lot and it would be legal

 Thanks so much for your help. I'll update as I get more info. 

Originally posted by @Arissa Pedroza :

Sounds good! Keep me posted.

 I looked up the owner of the neighbors house and it appears to be owned by a trust called US bank national association. Any idea how to proceed about getting an easement? 

The prior owner may have gotten an easement previously. Any idea how I could find out?

Yes any easements would have been recorded through the clerk. Google the county  name and clerk's office. You should be able to look up both House address  and see if there are any documents tied to it. A local title company can assist with this if you can't find any information. As far as the current owner of the neighbor's house you might want to contact that bank or mortgage company and talk to somebody in the Foreclosure Department

@James Canoy You may be overthinking this one. The driveway issue is the seller's problem.

A survey has already been completed. No need to waste money on another one. The last buyer probably didn't want to wait around for this title issue to be resolved. 

With 2 REOs right next door to one another (think about that as well), banks could take a while to resolve this. Got time for them to sort this out? Put it under contract at a discount and take advantage of your flexibility.

Hi @James Canoy ,

I do agree with @Tom Gimer  in that you are over thinking it

I'm not sure if you meant that the subject was owned by the bank and the neighbor was as well.... or that the other side neighbor and the subjects neighbor was as well. 

I have gotten Boundary Line agreements with a bottle of Makers Mark, because most neighbors are actually quite reasonable and a few feet here and there in the grand scheme of things means nothing. I would suggest running your numbers, figuring an hour of RE lawyer time (we are a lawyer state) and finding a number worth offering to the neighbor  for that driveway section. If it works go for it, if not I personally wouldn't spend any more time. A complete solution is preferred IMO.

I also do not know Duchess county so take this worth a grain of salt (default to your agent they will know the market). A couple grand buys many things, presented right. "So this zombie property next door gets brought up to par, raises my values and I get a couple grand for a signature and some land I don't mow or snowblow?"

Good Luck and I hope it works out for you

@Mike Cumbie Makers... good choice. 

The way I read it this REO is right next door to a US Bank property.

Without a title search this is all speculation... and honestly there should already be an easement for ingress/egress in place. But if not, this is an easy one one once you get the neighbor's attention. The land in question is on the side of a steep hill.

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :

@Mike Cumbie Makers... good choice. 

The way I read it this REO is right next door to a US Bank property.

Without a title search this is all speculation... and honestly there should already be an easement for ingress/egress in place. But if not, this is an easy one one once you get the neighbor's attention. The land in question is on the side of a steep hill.

 So if I talk it over with the title company they should know if there is an easement in place? Then the next step would be to contact the bank owning the next door house?

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :

@James Canoy You may be overthinking this one. The driveway issue is the seller's problem.

A survey has already been completed. No need to waste money on another one. The last buyer probably didn't want to wait around for this title issue to be resolved. 

With 2 REOs right next door to one another (think about that as well), banks could take a while to resolve this. Got time for them to sort this out? Put it under contract at a discount and take advantage of your flexibility.

The seller is Fannie and I’ve been lead to believe that they don’t care and will just shovel it off onto the buyer. 

James,

You should be able to go on line to your city's website, search the plat maps and see what the registered boundaries look like. I have done this on many properties to load my guns prior to any conversations.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

James,

You should be able to go on line to your city's website, search the plat maps and see what the registered boundaries look like. I have done this on many properties to load my guns prior to any conversations.

 Thanks for the input. I’ve found several maps on the county website the most recent appearing to show the driveway being on the property I would be buying. This would seem to solve it. I’ll report back after I figure out why the titling company wouldn’t insure the title. 

James,

I am not an attorney so I cannot advise whether it is binding or not. My belief is that it is, a little research should be able to solve that question. If this driveway situation has been there so long seeing owners come and go it may never have been an issue. If it were my property I would want it solved with either an easement in place or a lot line adjustment.

I had an 8 acre piece at one time, one day wanting to find my lot corners discovered the neighbor was encroaching on about 1/4 acre in the lower corner. He had a wood cutting business set up on it. Long story short we adjusted the lot line and I was paid a pretty good chunk of money.

Originally posted by @James Canoy :
Originally posted by @Tom Gimer:

@James Canoy You may be overthinking this one. The driveway issue is the seller's problem.

A survey has already been completed. No need to waste money on another one. The last buyer probably didn't want to wait around for this title issue to be resolved. 

With 2 REOs right next door to one another (think about that as well), banks could take a while to resolve this. Got time for them to sort this out? Put it under contract at a discount and take advantage of your flexibility.

The seller is Fannie and I’ve been lead to believe that they don’t care and will just shovel it off onto the buyer. 

They can't shovel it off to a buyer who is aware of the issue and getting a loan.

The title issue -- if one truly exists -- should be addressed by the seller.

If you are a cash buyer, sure you could close as-is... then you would be in the current owner's shoes. 

So this is the way things panned out. 

I got them to accept an offer of 112 with the difference going toward me building a driveway if needed. I didn't think it would come to that that so I just considered it a better deal. Well.. after accepting the offer they (Fannie) pulled out of the whole deal and took the property off the market because they had foreclosed on the property incorrectly and only foreclosed on a portion of it. 

So after a month of learning experience and stress it mattered for nothing. 

Thanks again for your help.