Oh dear.  People DO get excited about buying land to build on, or an existing house to renovate or move straight into.  They engage a law firm or conveyancer to assist them with the settlement process.  Searches are done to make sure its not flood prone, going to have a free-way or railway line built next door, is set for full or partial resumption or major power-lines nearby now or in the future.

When I was actively selling I’d always advise buyers to obtain a boundary survey even if the property was brand new. Not one of the hundreds of buyers I’ve advised over the years has ever spent the $700.00 – $1,200.00 to obtain a brand new, sparkling boundary survey.

Back in my Air Force days a friend of mine bought acreage outside Melbourne.  Dead flat, light bush and scrub, cheap and cheerful and somewhere for his kids to play and ride little motorbikes and ponies on the weekend.  There was no development for years.  The land was quite an old subdivision and any wooden boundary pegs had given up the fight to the weather and termites or collected for firewood.

One day after several months absence, my friend and family turned up to enjoy their land and noticed a rather large house under construction on the neighbouring land. My friend had had a survey done with metal reference pins placed in concrete at the boundaries. As his wife stood at one boundary pin near the road, he walked through the bush to find the other survey mark.  He found the mark, stood and turned to face his wife.  They were both shocked to find the house encroaching at least a metre and half into their property!

They walked over to talk to the Builder, who turned out to be a most unpleasant fellow so they gave up there.  They went to the Council – equally useless so they ended up at some Building Services place in Melbourne where they were able to write to the land owner advising him of the encroachment.

No response and the house kept rising into the air.  Lawyers were engaged who wrote to the owner.  Letters ignored.

Faced with no other choice they took legal action. At mediation my friend was very generous and offered to sell a slice of his property to the neighbour for what I remember as very favourable terms to which the local Council and State Government also agreed as it involved a re-jigging of the Lots.

The neighbour just plain refused to take the option, seeking to blame the builder, who quickly bankrupted himself and left town.

The neighbour ended up losing everything to my friend, who inherited a partially completed house and all the adjoining land in an out of court settlement.

Get boundaries checked!

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