Jim Valentine: Miscellaneous real estate musings
Many things happen along the way when buying or selling real estate. No matter how simple or solid a situation may appear to be, things can come up that disrupt the harmony. Handling problems is the essence of a real estate agent’s job. Problems can be big or small, but if they impede the sale or closing of an escrow they are equally important until they are resolved.
Manufactured homes must be converted to real property in order to get most loans. The conversion engineering and work is inspected and approved by the State of Nevada Division of Manufactured Housing. It is then noted at the County Assessor’s office and a document confirming the conversion recorded. Safe to assume the conversion will let a buyer get a loan, right? Not if the inspector says the conversion work was not completed. Yes, allegedly inspected, approved and signed off, but not done. Does that happen? It did to us this week. Escrow is delayed while the work gets completed. Don’t know where the breakdown occurred, but it doesn’t matter for the work needs to be done to close.
Zoning designation is often slighted by Agents when they assemble the information. For example, an Agent will say “Single Family Zoning,” but it was only a guess and not sufficiently detailed. There are many types of residential zoning in each of the regional counties that allow for different uses according to the actual zoning designation, SFR8000, or RA10 for random examples. Always determine what your zoning is exactly. We remember hearing about one local home sale that had a zoning issue when it was discovered that half of the lot had commercial zoning. It couldn’t get a residential loan. Litigation ensued that could have been prevented with proper due diligence and appropriate action taken.
Historical uses don’t always mean legal uses of a property. This can be especially important when it comes to easements and road maintenance agreements. Neighbors may have worked on a handshake for years, but one sells and the new owner may want to continue the traditional practices. Without a legal obligation to do so you might find yourself maintaining the private roadway at your own expense. This situation can apply to fence lines, access over a property, and more. As property values escalate each square foot of your lot has a greater value. The 3-feet that the fence is off could add considerably to your overall utility and value of your lot. Time to move the fence? Advise your neighbor but don’t plan on getting any financial contribution from them.
Is your view corridor protected? Not always and you can’t expect somebody not to build something that enhances their use of their land in order to protect your view. You may have the option to buy the land before they do, or you can ask about view corridor protection deed restrictions on the adjacent property before you buy. Some properties in the region have them, most do not. Know before you buy if you are buying for the purpose of enjoying your wonderful view into perpetuity, your perpetuity may be perpetrated on.
Advice: Always remember to confirm your assumptions and understandings by investigation, research, or interviews. All is not always what it appears to be and the cost to unwind, mitigate or resolve a matter may be costly, and/or not worth the financial cost to do so. Either way, you lose. Win up front! Do your homework. You can help your Agent by asking a lot of questions. Sure, it’s a lot more work for them, but its their job. Tell them what’s on your mind and they’ll get you answers. You decide if they are satisfactory or not… before you close escrow.
Promotional material and disclosures provide a lot of information, but before you rely on it, verify. “Trust but verify!” More effort up front will protect you and your family’s investment and emotional well being by establishing the reality and legality of what you are buying and confirming that you are getting what you bargained for.