Home Buying in Newton>Question Details

Suzanne Baldo, Home Buyer in 02138

how big a problem is a shared driveway?

Asked by Suzanne Baldo, 02138 Fri May 15, 2009

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I can tell you from 13 years of experience that a shared driveway is a huge freaking nightmare !! We purchased our home in 1998 and shared a driveway with 5 property owners. Right at first, 4 of the 5 neighbors were very prompt to share the cost of the upkeep, but one of the neighbors was a little slow on coming up with the money. A couple years after, the slow paying neighbor ended up in forclosure and moved out. The house was empty for a couple of years when the neighbor from hell moved in that summer. This neighbor from hell not only refuses to help pay for the upkeep, he also damages the road with his bull dozer and heavy equipment. Just recently, we now have another new neighbor who is freinds of the neighbor from hell. He too refuses to help pay for upkeep. So now, there are only three of us who pay for the total upkeep of the road while the two "deadbeat" neighbors use and destroy it. My good neighbors and I are going to have to take legal action against the two deadbeats. It is extremely stresssful ! Don't let anyone try to convince you that a shared driveway will work out. I am sure that in some cases all the neighbors are responsible and will do the right thing, but keep in mind that neighbors change and new ones move in. Sooner or later it will be a problem. So, my advice is if you are looking at a house and property that has a shared driveway, forget it. DON'T BUY IT !!!! You will be saving yoursel and your family a great deal of stress and headache. I speak from experience......hope this helps someone avoid what we have been through.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 31, 2011
Hello Suzanne,

Shared driveway problems are dictated by the people that share them. If you and your shared driveway neighbor are highly responsible people, and get along well, then most likely there will be no issues and both will keep the driveway well maintained and available for both homes. If relationships deteriorate then it can become a method of contention. If your neighbor falls into financial hardship when maintenance is required then it can potentially be left to you for maintenance. If your neighbor sells to an irresponsible person then it can potentially be an issue to you.

In my opinion if I were to look at a home with a shared driveway I would certainly look at the deed to spell out restrictions in the driveways use, maintenance, etc., etc., much like deed restrictions by an HOA association. Even with that you should prepare yourself that it is always possible you might have to resort to stronger methods to enforce your neighbors responsibilities. If there is nothing in writing that both parties have signed then many times it is always a potential problem area.

As much as we would like to look towards the good side of others, this is not one of the areas that you can rely on. You will be paying a lot of money for this home, going into debt with a loan and most likely have to live there for many years. Why place yourself in a position that you will kick yourself forever for?

O.K. RE Agents, you can start blasting me for being forward thinking and offering opinions based on practical experiences!!

Emmanuel J. Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
http://www.psinspection.com
214-418-4366 (cell)
TREC License # 7593
International Code Council, Residential Combination Inspector #5247015-R5 (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing and Building)
Certified Infrared Thermographer (ASNT-TC1A Standards)
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Third Party Warranty Inspector #1593
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Inspector, County Inspection Program
Texas Department Of Insurance, VIP Inspector # 08507061016
Hayman Residential Engineering Services, Field Technician
CMC Energy - Certified Energy Auditor

Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!!
Web Reference: http://www.psinspection.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 15, 2009
Hi Suzanne -

As a homeowner, I have a shared driveway with my neighbor. That house has had 2 owners since I bought my house in 1996 and I've never had a problem. We share the plowing costs and we have extra parking for guests since the driveway is oversized.

As a Realtor, it is ultimately up to the buyer to just know going into the situation that the house has a shared driveway. If you have not done so already, it may benefit you to ask the question of how the driveway is maintained between the two owners now, when it was last paved, etc.

If I can be of any other help, do not hesitate to call me at 508-981-7790 or email me directly at aimee.siers@commonmoves.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 15, 2009
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