Avoid boundary disputes and other title issues long before you are at the closing table. Selling your home and finding a buyer is stressful enough. Do not lose your Buyer or jeopardizing the closing by a title problem that could have been foreseen and remedied far in advance of closing.
Avoid Certificate of Occupancy (CO), Certificate of Completion (CC), Open Permits, boundary disputes and other title issues long before you are at the closing table. Before you put your house on the market consult your attorney and review what changes may have been made to the original foot print of your home as well as fences, decks, shed and pools that may become an issue. This is also true of items that MAY HAVE BEEN PRESENT when you bought your home but may be an impediment to your sale. Just because it existed at the time of your purchase DOES NOT mean it will not be a problem when you are ready to sell your home.
Most purchasers and their banks will not close if the proper COs CCs and Permits are not in place for the home as it currently exists. All Lenders require Title insurance before they will give a mortgage. All Purchasers should obtain Title Insurance as well. Title companies will refuse to insure a property’s title if a fence or other structure prevents the owner from accessing a portion of the property or if there is a significant encroachment by an adjoining property. Generally, this means that if a fence or structure sits more than 1 foot within your property line, you have a title problem. It does not matter if you installed the fence, who owns the fence, or if existed at the time you purchased your home. Without title insurance, a home simply will not be sold.
If you or your neighbor are planning a change near the property line such as putting up a fence, a shed, privacy/ boundary landscaping such as arborvitae, hedges, or bamboo (highly NOT recommended for other reasons), widening a driveway, other landscape features such as a flower bed or any other installations near the property line, make sure you have a survey of your property to consult. If you do not have a survey or have misplaced your survey, there may be one on file with your town or village building department. If none is on file, my offices can help you identify a surveyor who will prepare a new survey. Towns have different regulations regarding setbacks and heights of placements sheds decks as well as fencing. Also be sure to check with your town before taking action on any plans.
Be sure to measure the placement of the any new installation and compare it with the survey. If there is a disagreement or uncertainty, have an independent professional determine the correct placement of the structure. The survey can then be updated to include the new structure. Some towns now require a new survey after the installation of a deck for instance before they will issue a CC. You may think there is no need to address these details because you get currently along with your neighbors. However many things change over time, relationships change, neighbors may move, and there’s no guarantee what new homeowners will require or if there is a discrepancy the new neighbor may take action without consultation. Ensuring that fences and other structures are properly placed can avoid litigation and title problems. The types of issues that could lose a potential Buyer even at the closing table or possible make your house unmarketable. Taking care of these issues ahead of time may save substantial time and money as well as aggravation at a very stressful time. It also may avoid causing a significant delay in your own moving plans. It may also avoid having to get neighbors’ cooperation in signing and record a vital boundary line affidavits or agreements before you can sell. This will require not only cooperation but will cost money and time, often when time is of the essence for you.
Address these issues before you sell your home and before they ripen into a real title problem.
If you need help in this area or have questions feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.