In this article, you will learn:
- The importance of a clear title
- Common challenges faced throughout the process
Here’s a common thing that people don’t get, but it happens – and it happens way more often than you’d think. So you got to build a home, you find this builder, they have a great community, you really like it, whatever and they say “Okay, we have a bunch of lots here that just became available, which one might you be interested in?” While you’re walking on the lot, they’ll point out or you’ll see an estate with a red flag on it at the corners of the lot supposedly. But what you run into is the simple fact that if it’s a community where people have already been living, you’re looking at a new lot in that community. In fact, there might be a home backing up to the lot where you’re looking at buying, and there’s stakes at those corners with those two lots and you think “Okay, there’s the property line”. That could be, but it also could be that somebody picked the stake out of the ground to mow, then they put it back and they did that several times. Is the stake where it really belongs? Maybe; maybe not. Does the builder know at the time that they walk the lot with you that it is or isn’t? Not necessarily, and they’re not being deceitful by any means, it’s just these things happen.
So then, when you go to build the home and you’re building a home that maybe pushes the building envelop to the limit, so you don’t have a lot of extra space with regard to the setbacks from the sides or the rear or the front or all four of the lot. So you construct a home and you’re like “Okay, well now that I have this up, the builder wasn’t going to be the person who did this work initially” but then you decide, “Now you know before I moved in because I have pets, I want to put a fence up. So I want the fence to go here” and you make that decision based on looking at those stakes that are in the ground. Well, when you either put the fence in believing that that’s the property line and/or you go to a contractor that does fencing and they say “Well, look, I need the plot plan” and the next thing you know, you start looking at the plot plan versus the home that just built and what you thought were the property lines and you may find out that your home was actually sitting in one of the side’s setbacks.
Now, what do you do? So people look at that and say, “Well, nobody’s going to make that mistake, and the reality is that it happens very frequently. I’ve seen circumstances where the builders had dug a foundation and put the whole foundation in only to find out that the foundation crossed property lines, and once the buyer found out about that, they engage the legal counsel, and cease and desist on the construction. They didn’t want to buy the second lot, and they weren’t satisfied with moving into a different location even if it were at the builder’s cost, and ultimately, they had to pull the foundation walls out of the ground, fill it back in, give them their money back, and that was the end of the deal. If you wind up owning a home that’s been constructed across two property lines, you’re never going to be able to sell it in that capacity because you don’t have clear title to the property at that point.
So, that’s just one example, but having a clear title on a property is huge, especially if you ever decide to leave it.
Common Delays Or Things That Can Derail A Residential Sale Or Purchase In Pennsylvania
In today’s world, in particular, a lot of the buyers get caught up in wanting that property as quickly as possible. So, they’ll get into the bidding war situation, and they’ll contemplate the idea of, “Hey, I’ll pay whatever is needed. Then, they get the lucky opportunity to buy it because they negotiated for it, and often, the kind of money the seller accepted, the next thing you know, they have the appraisal done and they find out that they’ve got to come up with $50-60,000 of cash because that’s how much over the appraised value they offered to pay, and the bank’s not going to finance anything close to that.
So, you have both sides in a loser situation here, because at that point, the seller doesn’t understand or isn’t necessarily aware at the time of the contract that that party can’t actually pay what they committed to paying. The reality of it is the seller walked away from other willing and able buyers at that time, and now you have a little bit of a stigma tied to the property because now you know what the appraised value is or at least in one circumstance.
For more information on Real Estate Law In Pennsylvania, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (717) 990-7178 today.