Real estate questions

Real Estate Agent Q&A Series: Overcoming Title Challenges, Part 1

14 Jul, 2021

There are many times real estate agents have challenging questions related to a transaction their client is facing. At Velocity Title, we work hard to help our agents navigate even the most complex scenarios. Our “Real Estate Agent Q&A Series” is a way to help answer some of these challenging questions, and offer advice to help move your clients forward. Our first question in the series is:

Realtor Question:

My buyers want to put a contract offer in to buy a 10-acre parcel of land that was part of a family farm that was subdivided 25 years ago by the parents of the current owners. The seller is the brother of the neighbor whose parents were the people who subdivided the farm to give each child 10 acres. A survey was done and there is an old fence and old barn that are on my buyer’s property, but the brother neighbor is still using the barn and maintaining the yard and fence. My buyers want to be good neighbors but what are the possible issues with the barn and fence and the neighbor still using maintaining them as he has for 25 years?

Answer To Realtor: 

This is not an uncommon situation arising out of farms and large tracts of land that are subdivided by parents, and then the subdivided parcels are given to each child. As a family, the parties are not overly concerned with where the fences and out building structures are—and this can sometimes go on like this for decades. However, when one of the kids wants to sell their subdivided piece to an unrelated party (“arm’s length transaction”) this is where things can get dicey.

Maryland has a 20-year adverse possession claim that can be asserted by any person who has openly, notoriously and hostilely used the land in question for 20 or more years.  In the example given, the neighbor brother openly used the barn and land in question for at least 25 years without objection by anyone. After the buyer settles on the property the brother could assert a claim in court for adverse possession and would likely prevail taking that part of the property and the barn and fence as his own. In order to prevent that, the buyer should engage a competent real estate attorney to have an agreement drawn up where the brother will waive any claim of adverse possession and vacate the barn. Other agreements, such as easement agreements or leases may be created if the parties can agree that will solve any possible adverse possession claims but allow the brother to continue use of the barn and fence if the buyers are so inclined.

Guiding Your Clients Through Tough Transactions

Velocity Title has the legal expertise to guide real estate professionals, buyers and sellers through the tough and sometimes complex legal issues relating to real estate transactions. After all, for most people this is the single biggest investment they make in a lifetime so nothing should be left to chance. The Velocity Title team has combined experience of more than 190 years of real estate title work. Let our team guide you and your clients through even the most complex transactions. To learn more, click here or contact us today.


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