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Resolving boundary disputes before selling your home

Selling your home is rarely an easy process. Depending on how long you have lived there, you may have drastic purging to do, including cleaning out garages, closets, crawl spaces and other places where you store useless items. You may have minor repairs and cosmetic work to do to improve the appeal of your home, and you will certainly have what may seem like endless packing to do.

One element you may overlook is settling the boundary dispute with your neighbor. Home buyers already know that families next door can be difficult to get to know, and they may quickly lose interest in your property if you are at war with your neighbors over the property line. The best course of action is to settle the matter before you put your house on the market.

How to determine your boundaries

Boundary disputes are the stuff of lawsuits. This is not an attractive prospect for your prospective buyers. An ill-defined property line can mean more than simply how far over to mow the lawn. It can decide where to build a shed, install a fence or extend a room. Moreover, you may discover that an improvement you have made already encroaches on your neighbor's land or vice versa, and this could mean more trouble than you imagined if your potential buyer's survey discovers the error.

It's not a good idea to go by the information your realtor shared when he or she walked you through the property when you were the potential buyer. There are numerous places where you can look to find a more accurate representation of the boundaries of your property, including these:

  • The survey you commissioned when you bought the home
  • The plat map from the title company that did your title report
  • A copy of the plat map available at the office of your city clerk
  • Plat maps posted online by your county or township agencies

If none of these is available, you may simply hire a land surveyor to measure the property and place markers at its boundaries. Once you have gathered the proof of where your property line is, you can try speaking with your neighbor to resolve the dispute. This may involve the assistance of a Wisconsin attorney who can advise you on drafting a lot line agreement that will legally acknowledge the property lines.

It is possible your neighbor will not concede to your lot line agreement, in which case you may try mediation to reach an understanding about the land in dispute. Resolving the matter before putting your house on the market will remove one more complication from an already stressful process.

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