Jim Valentine: Corners, septics and more

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

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When you buy real estate you are buying a described piece of property from corner to corner. So how do you really know where it is?
In subdivisions it seems fairly simple as most properties here in the West are fenced. Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on a fence as a boundary line. Fences are often installed off the property line for one reason or another, but sometimes they are way off the property line. I recently learned of two residential properties in Reno where the fences were off 20 feet and 15 feet at the back corner.
It is one thing to be a good neighbor, but another to give them a substantial portion of your property that you paid for.
How do you know where the corners are? The first thing you can do is look for the corner monuments. Most in our region are identified by rebar. The old ones can have painted tips that may have worn off, while the new ones have plastic caps with the surveyor’s license number on them. If you find the corners and they appear to not have been tampered with then you will know where your corners are.
If you don’t find the corners then you must hire a licensed surveyor to identify them. This can go two ways — if they find them and merely flag them it is one price. If they can’t find them, or find that they are in the wrong place they must complete a Record of Survey and record them at a higher cost. Either way, it is good for you to engage them.
Individual waste disposal systems, aka septic, are often taken for granted until they fail. We suggest that you pay a little more attention to your septic when you buy. First, identify where it and the leach field are located. You don’t want to be driving over the leach field. Once you’ve found it, take the time to put risers on the clean out holes. It will help you find them later when you want to have your septic pumped. It is costly to have the vendor find your septic access.
Be careful what you put in your drains, some things kill the bacteria and enzymes that are essential to the successful operation of your septic. There are products that enhance your system’s performance that you can use occasionally. You are running your own “sewer treatment plant” so pay attention.
The tree over the fence issue is a dicey one. In a perfect world you will be able to communicate with your neighbor and keep trees trimmed to your mutual satisfaction. Occasionally, however, a neighbor lets their tree grow wild and it can interfere with your quiet enjoyment of your property.
Can you trim the tree? How much? If you trim too much will the tree die and will you have liability for the loss? This seems to go a couple of ways when we read information about it. The best resolve is to reach an agreement with your neighbor. If you can’t, we suggest you get legal counsel for your situation and legal protection. You can also call a tree service that will have specific knowledge on the matter and will provide suggestions as to how it can be cleanly resolved.
There are occasional miscellaneous annoyances that occur that can present challenges to resolve. Water being dumped on your property can adversely affect your landscaping or use of your land. Wandering animals and children that do obnoxious things on your property are dicey. Both should be monitored, but if you turn them in there can be consequences. Is your neighbor receptive to a resolve, or do you need to make the call to protect the child, animal, and your property? Not an easy decision, but it must be made for the well being of the neglected souls, your peace of mind, and to maintain your property value in the event you decide to sell.
Most of these items have a neighbor component which affirms the value of a good neighbor. There is no doubt that a good neighbor situation creates added value for wise buyers. There is magic in the air in a happy, supportive neighborhood. Be sure to do your part.
Fences delineate your property, but they don’t stop the flow of conversation when you “talk over the fence” with your neighbor. Be in touch with your neighbor once in a while.
When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your Real Estate needs… Experience is Priceless!  Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com


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