When you bought your home, likely you had a survey done which outlines the four corners of your property lines. It also shows sewer drains, pipes, where the house sits on the lot of land, as well as other structures on the property (driveway, storage shed, deck or concrete patio, etc.).
When you sell your home, the new buyer will also have one done so they are now aware of their property lines. Whenever a survey is done, the surveyor is looking for encroachments and easements.
- Encroachment: when someone or something has taken up use or part of your land, without permission
- Easement: a specific right to use a property or part of a property, ex: walkway or path
If your neighbors have put up a fence and it crosses onto YOUR property, it WILL be reflected on the survey given to the new buyers. Whether they want to make a big deal of it is absolutely their right. Why would anyone agree to purchase a property and not have full use of it? Now depending on timeframes and the extent of the encroachment, it’s up to them if they want it moved prior to settlement.
When purchasing a home, the buyer should be purchasing Title Insurance (if you’re getting a mortgage from a bank, it will be required). That title insurance has to reflect the fence encroachment in their documents and make an exception to the policy. So there are ways to close on time if there’s an issue and you’re tight on time, but eventually the issue will need to be resolved.
I’m not an attorney, so if you have a difficult neighbor who refuses, I don’t know what the appropriate steps would be to resolve the issue. This is where I would advise you to consult with a real estate attorney or you can ask the title company who is doing your closing for advice.
On the flip side, if you’re considering installing a fence – PLEASE give a copy of the survey/plat to the fence company and make sure the installation is done properly. Doing it the right way up front will save you time, money, and frustration later down the road.