Monday, November 22, 2010

First Time Homebuyer’s Real Estate Word for Today is Encroachment

In a recent episode of the Emmy award winning television show, Cash Cab, several people with stumped by the acronym, FSBO. This is a term often used in the real estate world to describe a person selling their home by owner (For Sale By Owner). As a REALTOR® I was a bit surprised but then I started to remember of all the times a glazed look came over a buyer’s eyes when I talked about escrow or earnest money. These can easily be confused with other real estate and mortgage terms like down payment or cash to close. It is totally understandable because homebuyers do not buy houses everyday.

There are so many terms that could possibly confuse a First Time Homebuyer that I thought a glossary of real estate terms might be helpful. So over the next few weeks I am going to have a series of posts for the first time homebuyer with explanations of the most often used (and sometimes confusing) real estate terms. This way you can skip buying that big “how to buy a house” book or attending that
First Time Homebuyer Class and have a quick resource at your fingertips. Today’s Real Estate Term is:
EncroachmentAn encroachment is when something owned or constructed by a neighbor extends beyond the property line and onto another land owner’s property. Examples of common encroachments are fences, paths and branches of overgrown trees. Known encroachments must be disclosed by the seller on the Minnesota Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (unless the buyer agrees in writing to an alternative inspection report or no disclosure).

Sometimes there is a reason for an encroachment. Trees often grow and will encroach into a neighbor’s yard. This usually isn’t a problem unless a branch was to break and cause damage in the neighboring yard.

There are times when a homeowner may not be aware of the encroachment because at the time of the construction the builder “guessed” at the property line or the survey was incorrect. It is common for an encroachment to be discovered when a new survey has been completed. A conflict can arise when it is discovered that a fence or shed has been constructed “on” or “near” what was thought to be the property line, but is actually over the line and encroaching on the neighbor’s property. The structure owner can then be required to move or remove the structure which can be very costly. Most communities will require a permit before construction and a setback to avoid these situations.

Copyright 2010 Teri Eckholm