One of the first things a licensed Architect will do during his initial Due Diligence on a project is verify how vehicular access is obtained to your land.
THIS IS A TRUE STORY: ONLY THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT
Without property lines connected to roadways, or without access easements that connect to your land, you cannot legally get to your property without trespassing on someone else’s land. For someone to sell land to another person without such access, is reprehensible at least, and downright illegal at worst. That is why some states require each party of a real estate transaction to be represented by a real estate attorney. And if your State does not require this representation, hire an attorney anyway. The minimal cost can save you heartache later.
There is one other professional that you might want to have on your team: your Architect. Your Architect will be looking for obvious things like this: “how do you get to your property?”
The HOME ARCHITECTS ® were recently hired to design a house for a nice couple from another state. Let’s call them Bonnie & Ben Smith. They had purchased their land years ago. Unfortunately, no Architect was on Bonnie & Ben’s team back then. No one told them back then that this might be a good idea, so how were they to know otherwise? That is why this online article is now being posted: so that other new buyers might learn from their experiences. These are trusting and decent people. Whoever was on their side unfortunately did not happen to notice that the existing access dirt road to their land is NOT the same deeded roadways indicated on the plat layout for their property.
The developer (let’s call him Dick) does not intend to build the 2 legally platted roadways to Bonnie and Ben’s land, as the topography is too steep there. So, Dick the Developer simply created a dirt road to the land over other people’s land, to whom he sold lots in a small neighborhood. He never replatted the neighborhood to reflect the easier access dirt road.
Within a week of being put under contract to design this new house, the HOME ARCHITECTS ® helped Bonnie and Ben by coordinating the services of a local land surveyor (let’s call him Sam). Within a matter of days, Sam the Surveyor called the Architect, reporting: “Hey; I’m out here at the property, and there’s something way off… The two roads that are supposed to be connecting to this lot are not here, but there’s another dirt road, between them. That’s not on the legal plat, recorded at the Courthouse by Dick the Developer.”
This put the Architect on full alert. How odd! After further investigation, it was discovered that Dick the Developer never did what he should have done: have a Surveyor replat the neighborhood property lines OR indicate a new roadway access easement across some of the other lots to reflect what his real intentions were. Now the Clients (Bonnie & Ben) have a real situation on their hands. They own land with no legal physical access in place. They can try to coerce Dick the Developer to do the replatting or new easement recording, or sue him for misrepresenting the access he indicated in legal documents that he never provided. What a problem!
Most lay people, happy to be buying land for their future dream house do not know much about such matters. Why would they? That is why there are other professionals available to assist them. Most people probably think that involving such entities as Architects, Attorneys and Surveyors before they buy the land to be needless expenses. Probably about now you may be thinking: “Oh, no! They ARE needed. I don’t want that to happen to me!”
If the Architect had been onboard Before the land was purchased, as part of Bonnie and Ben’s Due Diligence team, the Architect would likely have spotted this discrepancy up front. Then the Clients would have had much more leverage with which to induce Dick the Developer to perform his easement recording, holding their money as incentive to obtain Dick’s performance. Don’t let such an unfortunate set of circumstances happen to you! Hire an Architect and pay them to help you understand your land (and how to get to it) BEFORE you buy it.
Architect: 1-828-269-9046 Rand@HomeArchitects.com
tags: roadway access easement to your land, cashiers, highlands, newnan, hendersonville, atlanta, post and beam, timber frame, chicago, new york, aspen, telluride, lake tahoe, yosemite