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Sponsored: Sellers find out fences are not on property’s actual borders; how do they handle transparency?


Q: The house we are planning to sell was once part of a larger property with three houses side by side. One couple had owned the larger house, and they eventually built smaller homes for their adult son and daughter. Decades later, after the passing of the older couple, the lots were officially subdivided. In 2003, when we bought the end lot with a smaller home, we had to hire a surveyor to remodel and enlarge the house. We doubled the square footage on this sloped lot and created a three-level home with the garage at the street level. The neighbors who recently bought the original larger house informed us that the fences are not on the actual borders between houses. This new information could not come at a worse time. And there is no survey available of the original subdivision of the three lots. The surveyor we hired in 2003 has retired and made no representation of fence lines. To employ a surveyor now would be costly and take time. We have a broker tour this week and open house this weekend. Is there a way to just disclose this new word-of-mouth information regarding fence lines and be done with it?

A: There are lots of real estate forms that allow sellers and agents to disclose information “about known material or significant items affecting the value or desirability of the Property.” Remember, real estate attorneys put their kids through college with border disputes. So take advantage of the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) forms created by real estate attorneys and brokers such as the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) Form, and the Seller Property Questionnaire (SPQ). Describe in detail what you know about the history of the three lots and the fences between them. Your neighbors need a letter from you notifying them that your fences might not be on exact borders. Attach copies of the letter to your seller questionnaires. Your seller’s agent should disclosure this information on his or her Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure (C.A.R. AVID Form). Keep your neighbors and future homebuyers fully informed about any border developments, and memorialize all communications.

Have a question? Know someone who is thinking of moving? Realtor Pat Kapowich provides turnkey services including relocation, staging, market analysis and strategic planning. 408-245-7700 or Pat@SiliconValleyBroker.com. Broker License 00979413

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Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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