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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Interested in Property with Encroachment Issue

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Michigan

    I have been searching for homes for sometime now and have found the perfect setup. However this home is a sold as is foreclosure. The home sits on 5 acres of land and has a VERY nice completey finished polebarn outbuilding. The land was surveyed which shows that the house I am interested in purchasing as well as a portion of the polebarn and a shed enchroaches a portion of land that is not part of the property I am interested in. My realtor has informed me of this and I have a copy of a survey that has recentely been done. The home was built in 1955 and Im not exactley sure why portion of the home as well as the outbuildings encroach. How could you screw this up? The encroachment is into a lane or street that does not yet exsist and is merely just a dirt path for the neighbor and I to gain access to the homes. My realtor said that in the future if a road was to be constructed the polebarn would have to be moved or destroyed. This is the only thing that scares me about buying this property. Is there anything I could do prior to purchasing this? Would it be ok to purchase and deal with the issure down the road? Here is a picture of the survey, micheles ave which (does not yet exsist yet) is what is encroached.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    El Dorado County, CA

    Default Re: Interested in Property with Encroachment Issue

    First off, your looking at a document with a misleading title. A Mortgage "Survey", often called Mortgage Inspections or Mortgage Reports in other states, isn't a boundary survey. The resolution on your copy isn't very good, so I can't read it, but somewhere in the certification there will almost certainly be language to the effect that the survey is not for the purpose of cerifying the boundary.

    Confusing, eh? Yeah, I know. Most people think that these are surveys, regardless of what the fine print says. IMO, the harm they cause far outweighs the supposed service they provide to anyone.

    That being said, the surveyor has at least a good approximate idea of where the boundary is. It may be just as shown, or it may be a few feet off. Notice that the surveyor does not provide dimensions to tell you how much of each building or other improvements are encroaching by. This indicates to me that his boundary is pretty rough. But it is showing major encroachments.

    Mortgage "surveys" tend to show the exact deed dimensions plotted on the drawing. Without giving you a very long explanation, I will just say that there are many factors which affect the boundary and it is often true 9probably more often than not) that the dimensions will not exactly match what your deed says. This may be such a case.

    How the road affects your boundary, and how the existing improvements will affect your boundary will depend in large part on whether the road right of way is a publicly owned or a privately owned one. In short, if publicly owned, you will have to remove encroaching improvements if the government ever opens the road. If privately owned, it will depend upon several factors, but you will stand a better chance of letting your barn and home stay as is.

    In such a case, it would be likely that the barn could stay until you decide to replace it, at which time you will need to rebuild in a location that meets current zoning (including setback) standards. Not a bad outcome.

    If this is your dream home and you really gotta have it, first get a local attorney who practices in boundary matters to advise you. And second, get a real survey.

    When and if you get a real survey, explain to the surveyor that not only do you want the boundary determined, but that you also want any encroachments and easements identified.

    Just to prepare you for the sticker shock, the Mortgage "survey" probably cost about $500. Depending upon terrain, brush or other ground cover obstructions, existence of other survey records in the area, etc., you can expect to pay $2000 to over $5000 for a real survey. Just remember, you get what you pay for. $500 for junk that tells you that there probably, maybe is a real problem here, or real money for a real professional service that tells you not only whether or not there really is a problem, but it quantifies it for you as well, and is something that the professional surveyor will stand behind, unlike the mortgage cartoon.

    A real survey is likely to find that these encroachments do exist to some extent, and will show you the actual extent.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Interested in Property with Encroachment Issue

    First, let me say that I agree completely with the previous poster regarding "mortgage surveys". They are frequently a fraud on the public IMHO, which is misled and gets to pay nevertheless.

    Due to the long time the road has existed only on "paper" (since 1955) I would say that the township has little interest in opening it up and paving it at this late date.

    If you buy the property, you and your neighbor could petition to have the road vacated. In that case the road would be divided down the centerline and the resulting two 25' strips would be attached to your respective parcels and become your property. You would have to stand the cost of a boundary survey, a proposed vacation plat, and some legal work. You might also have to work out access with your neighbor. Hopefully all of the current encroachments would then be on your side!

    Or you could just let sleeping dogs lie and hope for the best. But I would at least take eapls' advice and get a proper boundary survey done as he suggests.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Interested in Property with Encroachment Issue

    Thanks guys a bunch. I have a much better understanding of the situation, I will let the sleeping dogs lie until I can have a boundry survey taken.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Houston, Texas

    Default Re: Interested in Property with Encroachment Issue

    I completely agree with previous posters. Get a real boundary survey performed then make a decision. It's just like buying a used car. Get an independent mechanic to take a look at it before you purchase it.

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