Property Q&A in Portland>Question Details

Mimi, Other/Just Looking in Portland, OR

hazy property lines

Asked by Mimi, Portland, OR Thu Jul 19, 2012

I purchased a home in 2008 with a fenced-in yard. I remember the seller's agent telling us that there is a 5 ft. strip of land behind the fence, between our home and the one behind us, that belongs to the county. A few months after buying the home, we received a letter asking if we wanted to purchase that strip of land. We opted not to since it meant moving our fence basically into our neighbors yard.
4 years later, we received the same letter with a detailed aerial view map attached showing that 5 foot strip right in our backyard within the fence line. The county is again asking if we want to purchase it before they offer it to the neighbors behind us. They are adamant that they will not pay for a surveyor to confirm whether or not it is in our yard or not but they "think" it is in our yard which is why they offered it to us first.
Is there any recourse either to the seller, the seller's agent or to the title company to have them pay for this strip of land?

Help the community by answering this question:


You can probably meet with an attorney for free for the first session to see if they are interested. I would think the logical place to start though would be to get the property surveyed. That way you will know for sure if the strip of land is your property or belongs to the county. Surveying isn't cheap, but neither is an attorney, and they will want you to get the property surveyed as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 22, 2012
I agree with Mandy, if your question is simply determining who might be held responsible for a disputed property line, a real estate attorney would be the best route to go.
However, an alternative suggestion would be to make a freindly approach to your neighbor - would they be willing to split the cost of a surveyor? There is benefit to both parties here, and they may be willing to contribute for benefit of their own property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 19, 2012
As mentioned below, you should talk with an attorney to sort out the details. Although no longer actively practicing law, I am an attorney and would be happy to give you the names of real estate attorneys you can contact.

Jon Cohen
Portland Home Team @
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
9755 SW Barnes Rd., #560
Portland, OR 97225

Tel: 503.720.9393
Fax: 503.336.6352
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 19, 2012
It sounds like the documentation of details (selling agent describing where the strip is located, etc.) will be very important in figuring this out. I would highly recommend speaking with a real estate attorney prior to making any decisions, and quickly before you possibly lose a portion of what you thought was your property. Sorry I cannot be of more help, but I can not legally give advice. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 19, 2012
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