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What to know when purchasing a home with an encroachment

You are ready to purchase a home in Austin, Texas. You have been approved for a loan, researched neighborhoods and house-hunted until you wanted to drop to the ground. Now, you have found a place that you love. There is just one problem: it has an encroachment.

Though encroachments are fairly common, many buyers are not familiar with them. An encroachment is when a neighbor’s structure crosses the boundary line into your property. Encroachments are not necessarily a bad thing, but you should consider a few important things before you buy a house with one.

The liability factor

The major factor to be aware of regarding encroachments is liability. If your neighbor owns a structure that intrudes onto your property, you could still be held liable if someone is injured on the structure. Purchasing a house that has an encroachment means that you are taking on the risk associated with the structure. Some encroachments are minor and some are major. Minor encroachments such as dog houses, fences or outdoor sheds carry a lower risk than major ones like a garage or a guest house.

Buying a house with an encroachment

There are a few ways to deal with encroachments. The first, simplest option is to ask your neighbor to remove the structure. Another option is to grant an easement, or a legal right to use the property for their structure. If these fail, you could obtain a court order to have it removed, though this would not endear you to your neighbor.

You should put in some serious thought before purchasing a home with an encroachment. It is important to know every possible legal consequence and the options that are available to you. Encroachments are not necessarily a big deal or an impediment to purchasing a home if you understand how to deal with them.

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William T. Peckham
1104 Nueces Street, Suite 104
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-487-7604
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