My question involves real estate located in the State of: North Carolina
Some context before my question: I purchased a property with an ingress & egress access easement disclosed in the deed/title. Everything seemed fine as is at purchase because the easement had been in existence for almost 20 years and there had been no issues. The appraiser returned a favorable valuation above my purchase price and didn't even list the easement. As it turns out, the easement was passing through my fence, trees, bushes, a greenhouse, garden beds, even my driveway where I park today.
Shortly after I purchased, my neighbor (the dominant estate) sued me to take down everything and pay punitive damages of $10,000 for loss of use of the easement, even though I literally had done nothing, just inherited the property as is.
Fast forward a year after getting sued, I'm in a complex lawsuit with $20k+ already incurred in legal fees. I'm trying to get someone to compensate me for my legal fees. Title insurance won't do it because they have a clause that excludes easements from the insurance policy. Homeowner's insurance won't do it because it's not a matter of liability (I didn't cause any actual damage to the Plaintiff's property), nor did my property get damaged (at least not yet lol).
So I went to my mortgage company and asked for compensation because the appraiser they hired did not list the easement. My understanding is the appraiser is also required to assign a dollar value for any easements the property is burdened by. I'm positive if the appraiser had done her job, she would have assigned at absolute minimum a $10k cost to the easement, driving the appraisal below the purchase price. In other words, I purchased a significantly overvalued property. After extensive back & forth conversations with my mortgage company (I got all the way to the chief risk officer LOL), they offered to pay me a $5,000 check today to compensate me for my legal fees, but they maintain that they don't think they did anything wrong. Their reasoning is that an appraiser really doesn't understand easements in that much detail and that it should have been the role of the surveyor and closing attorney to disclose and explain properly. I don't buy that - the appraiser assigns a value to a property, so why wouldn't they at least read the deed to look for encumbrances, and then investigate? Seems like basic negligence that led me to purchasing a significantly overvalued property because, let's face it, I'm not the expert here.
In summary, my question is, what's the best way to go about getting compensated for the situation I'm in? If you were in my place, would you take the $5,000 from the mortgage company? Are there other avenues that I can explore, should I be pushing this further with my mortgage company? I've also thought about suing my closing attorney and/or the seller for misrepresenting the property, but I've never sued anyone and the idea of another lawsuit (in addition to the current one) is pretty idiotic. I'm open to it though because I'm really not a fan of dishonesty, and the seller misrepresented a lot about the property.
Thank you all for your time and thoughts on my situation!