Bill Hoey - RE/MAX Renaissance Inc.



Posted by Bill Hoey on 1/22/2020

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 Photo by Andrew Martin via Pixabay

It’s not uncommon for homebuyers to discover that the land they purchased may not be entirely their own. Another party may have gained a legal right to use or traverse your property. Easements and right-of-ways can be established by a number of mechanisms and go unnoticed, particularly in undeveloped parcels or when the previous owners were absent.

When homeowners discover someone else holds sway over part of your property, the first-blush reaction is often about loss of value. You paid for full ownership and the easement will likely diminish your resale value. But homebuyers would be wise to proceed with caution because the cost of defending against a claim or creating hostilities with a neighbor could prove emotionally taxing.

What is an Easement or Right-of-Way?

The common law practice of easements has its roots in the free flow of water and the ability to cross a community member’s land in olden times. This practice accounted for the lack of roadways and the need to traverse tracts of land. Although this is a somewhat outdated concept, long-standing easements exist. If you are considering purchasing a property that involves an easement, it’s important to understand that you still own the pathway to the other parcel. But you may never be able to utilize it actively.

For all practical purposes, a right-of-way is a type of easement that has been formalized. Landowners generally agree to record the easement in a deed or other legally-binding agreement. Thoroughly researched land records are likely to uncover these easements. This is why having a property deed vetted before purchasing a property remains standard practice. But a worrisome mechanism known as “adverse possession” may put new homeowners in a legal bind because the existence of an easement may go unknown.

What Homebuyers Need to Know About Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is often associated with the term “squatters rights.” That colloquial term came out of people living on unused land and gaining ownership by establishing their presence over time. Today, people more often gain adverse possession rights by using part of a property for access or travel.

If, for instance, a neighbor routinely drives over an undeveloped part of your property to get to theirs, they could be gaining a right to that portion. On undeveloped land, hunters, hikers, and other outdoors enthusiasts may walk a path across your land. Over time, they can establish a right that prevents you from enclosing the land or developing that section. While defending against an adverse possession lawsuit can be emotionally draining, there may be a silver lining. The courts usually apply a rigorous four-part standard that few squatters meet. These include the following.

  • Hostile: This involves issues such as the user not knowing the land was owned by another or using it due to a mistake about where the property lines were located.
  • Actual Possession: The claimant must have been physically present on the land.
  • Open and Notorious: This standard looks at whether the trespasser used the land in a fashion that was obvious to the owner.
  • Exclusive and Continuous: This tends to be the standard that upends claims. The trespasser must have physically used the land without interruption.

Hiring an attorney and mounting a defense of your property can be an exhausting ordeal. It’s one of the last things any homeowner wants to go through. That’s why conducting your due diligence about easements and right-of-ways remains as crucial as taking out title insurance when you buy a home.




Categories: Buying  


Posted by Bill Hoey on 5/8/2019

You may have a rough idea of what your home is worth. Maybe you have recently been given an assessed value on the home, or have peeked on an online search as to what comes up for your home. Do you really understand all of the things that affect the value of your home? There are many things that may not be obvious but are important to the number that you’ll come to when you decide to sell your home. 


The Number Of Your House


Do you live at 13 Elm Street or 7 Winner’s Way? Buyers have superstitions that surround numbers and street names. Don’t be surprised if the number of your house or even the name of your street brings buyers in or sends them running. There’s not much you can do to change the house number or street name, but it’s something to keep in mind. Sometimes the reason that certain buyers are turned off from your house is truly out of your control. If you do live on a desirable street, that can help bring up the value of your home due to the demand in the area. Remember that what some consider “unlucky” others consider a blessing (like the number 13!) 


The Neighborhood


While your home may be perfectly pristine, you don’t have much control over what your neighbors do. If there are neighbors nearby that have strange items in their yards, strange colored homes, or other eccentric tastes, buyers may be turned off from your home. This could actually cause the price of your home to drop slightly. You should be prepared for this to affect the sale of your home, but don’t be discouraged. If buyers enjoy your home enough, they’ll be able to turn off that all too bright paint color next door.


Greenery


Trees and greenery increase the value of a home. Don’t think of cutting down those trees on your property unless you have to! Trees that have grown up on your property will add a lot of value to the home in the future. If you’ve been living at your residence for 20 years or so, think of the value that those first seeds and bushes you planted have added! 


Interests Are Not Universal


If you have displays, shrines, or rooms dedicated to a certain hobby, it could either be beneficial or detrimental to your home sale. This all depends on who comes walking through the door for a home showing. If you’re a Veteran and have some Marine Corps things around the houses, it could attract the attention of other Vets. However, that strange Marilyn Monroe room you have might actually deter from the pool of people available to buy your home. Buyers like to be able to see themselves living in the home. Some circumstances make it easier than others for buyers to have a vision for themselves in your home.    






Posted by Bill Hoey on 1/9/2019

When you’re buying or selling a home, you may hear the terms, “assessed value” and “market value.” There are few things that you should know about these terms. First, they cannot be used interchangeably. The assessed value is generally much less than the market value. If you’re buying a home, you probably would rather see the assessed value of the home as a price! If you’re selling, the same holds true for the market value of the home for you.


Market Value Is Used Differently Than Assessed Value


The market value is how much your home is worth on the market currently. The definition is exactly as the term sounds the home is looked at by an assessor and given a value. The assessed value is used to determine property taxes, among other things. As you can imagine, the assessed value can become a point of contention for many homeowners especially when it comes to paying their tax bills. Many homes end up being assessed at a higher price than their current value, bringing tax bills to higher levels. The market value is what the home will sell for when it is listed for sale.


Be careful when searching for a home to buy. Many sites list the assessed value along with the price of the home or estimated market value of the home. You don’t want to get these numbers confused when budgeting and searching for the perfect house. 


If you’re getting ready to sell your home, pay little attention to the assessed value of the home. That is not what your home will sell for. 


The market value is a good reason to hire a realtor to help you sell your home. Realtors are experts in finding the market values of homes. They will even do something called a CMA (comparative market analysis) for you to help you determine the right price for your home to sell at. This is where comparable properties in the area are examined for their selling prices and all the perks of your home and neighborhood are considered. The market value is determined by the price of the homes that have recently been sold in the area based on the location of the home and how close it is to certain amenities like schools, parks, and the probability of future construction. 


Finally, know that the market value and the appraised value of a home have a lot to do with how much a lender will give you to buy the property. Every home that is being bought must go through an appraisal, to protect the lender from overpaying for a home.    


Whether you’re buying or selling a home, knowing your value terms can really be a help in understanding the sweet spot for pricing a property  





Categories: Market Trends