Think You Don’t Need a Property Survey? Think Again

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A Case Study

Mark Basemann of Iron Range, Minnesota bought a home in 2013 and quickly found himself in the middle of a family dispute between Roger Weber, his new neighbor, and Weber’s sister, who had inherited Basemann’s new home from her father. Roger claimed that half of Basemann’s garage sat on his land. Just days after Basemann closed on the new property, Roger took a chainsaw and cut the garage in half.  Basemann filed a civil suit for $20,000 in damages to the garage and another $20,000 in punitive damages, arguing that he had purchased the entire garage as a part of the sale, and that he was entitled to money to have it repaired.

Despite the fact that the garage sat on Basemann’s driveway, a judge found that Roger had every right to remove the portion of the garage that sat on his land. Half of the garage was located on Roger’s land, and therefor Roger was justified in removing that half of the structure. To make matters worse for Basemann, the judge ruled that he would have to replace his home’s septic system, which had existed on Roger’s land for years.

The Lesson

Lenders often tell homebuyers that property surveys are unnecessary, and that they shouldn’t waste their money. If Basemann had gotten a property survey done along with his title search, he would have discovered the property dispute and either avoided purchasing the home or resolved the issue prior to closing.

Why to get a Property Survey

Without a property survey, a buyer has no way of knowing whether or not their new home’s fence, garage, septic system, electrical system, etc. lay on a neighbor’s property. As we saw with Basemann and Roger Weber, buyers who unwittingly encroach on a neighbor’s land can run into significant hassles and unnecessary expenditures. Sellers involved in property disputes are likely to stay quiet about any issues facing the property in the hopes of passing them off to the buyer.

Working with a Full-Service Title Insurance Company

Lakeside Title Company is a title insurance company that works with builders, lenders, and realtors in Maryland, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, and Southern Pennsylvania. We provide a full range of title searches and closing services, including surveys, mechanic’s lien searches, and more. For more information, please visit our homepage.

If you, a colleague, coworker, client, friend, or family member has a question for an attorney, please contact Lakeside Title Company’s affiliated Law Firm, Deardorff, Rath & Pichon, LLC.  Click here to contact Lakeside Title Company OR Deardorff, Rath & Pichon, LLC.

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