Property Q&A in San Jose>Question Details

Erica.bonham, Home Owner in San Jose, CA

Is it possible to buy part of my neighbors lot? Specifically the backyard.

Asked by Erica.bonham, San Jose, CA Sat May 26, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


The reason the agents are suggesting an attorney is that the language of the B.L.A. binding lot adjustment needs to accurately reflect what portion of the lot is being sold/purchase.

The vendors to this process are:
Contact the City of San Jose to determine what the zone and lot size requirements are for the subdivision.
A surveyor to determine the boundary lines.
An appraiser for value
A title officer to insure the title from one lot to the other is conveyed properly they can assist the attorney in the language needed for the Grant Deed.
If there are any easements and/or utilities associated with the lot the City and Municipalities will have their own requirements.

As advised by Allen, if there is a loan on the lot being sold the lien holder will need to approve the conveyance (sale).

Have an amazing day!
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 27, 2012

Both Mr. Lorenzo and Mr. Butterfield have given you good starts. Rather than a lot split, though, you should consider a "lot line adjustment". This is much cheaper than a lot split to do and usually requires less headache from the city. A lot split creates a new parcel. A lot line line adjustment moves land from one parcel to be included in the other parcel so one parcel gets bigger and the other neighboring parcel gets smaller. Normally, one consults a real estate attorney for these matters. Mr. Butterfield has suggested a good attorney in prior posts. I suggest you call Mr. Butterfield for the attorney's name. I am assuming that your neighbor is amendable to selling you part or all of his back yard and you two have established a price. In addition to an attorney, you'll need a surveyor. The city or county will require a survey of both lots before allowing the change.

You may want to establish a price through hiring an appraiser.

Mitchell Pearce
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 26, 2012
Surveyor between $1,500 and $3,000. Attorney $150 to $350/hour. Are you in the city or County? It's not just help with the deeds, you also have zoning issues and planning commission to deal with. You may have to notice neighbors. All this depends on which jurisdiction you are in. I assist people with this sort of thing at $75/hour. This covers initial research of what you actually need to do to succeed, a discussion with you and your neighbor regarding what you both agree on, assistance in setting a price if you have not already agreed on a price, writing and sending required notices, posting required notices, preparing applications, presenting to the planning commission etc. I prefer to work with an attorney when possible.
Mitchell Pearce
Flag Sun May 27, 2012
Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. Any idea what the cost could be for the entire process (not including the price of the actual lot)? I imagine the surveyor and lot line adjustment application would be roughly $1000 but I have no idea what the cost of real estate attorney would be to help with the deed(s).
Flag Sat May 26, 2012
That is possible but you have to ask the City for approval and your neighbor's property must be free and clear. If the property owner has a mortgage, the lienholder must agree to a partial release and the sales proceed will go towards paying down the mortgage.

Allan Lorenzo
Lorenzo Real Estate Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 26, 2012
Thank you Ms. Bonham for your question:

If you want to buy part of your neighbor's lot and split it off, that will require approval from The jurisdiction where the property is located.

In this case apparently the property is located in The City of San Jose. That would require approval from The City of San Jose for the lot split. You need to know what is the size of the lot? What are the zoning requirements where you are located? Does any part of the neighbors buildings encroach on the minimum setback requirements after the lot is split?

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Rrealty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 26, 2012
thanks so much for the info. The neighbor's house is 2600 sq ft with a lot of 10,000 sq ft. They appear to be the original owners since their property taxes are at a value of ~$200K on a house currently valued over a million. Hopefully there are no zoning restrictions. Any thoughts on how to assess the price per sq ft for backyard property?
Flag Sat May 26, 2012
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