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Old 07-23-2011, 10:34 PM
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Default potential new neighbor removed survey pins. What can I do?

I'm in the process of buying a house (in Worth County if that matters). A neighboring property owner was working on the property line with a dirt pan and accidentally removed both rear survey pins.

So my question is, does he legally have to replace the pins since he removed them? I'm assuming he would have to get another survey done.

I'm trying to avoid a big problem in the future. This is a bank owned property, would it be possible to make the bank replace the pins since they were there when we made the offer and went under contract?
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:30 AM
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The neighbor would be legally required to replace the pins only if he is ordered to do so by a court. Since you have no ownership interest in the property at the moment you have no standing to ask the court to issue this order. It is doubtful that you will find that the bank is willing to pursue this either.

Besides the pins are only the last surveyor's guess as to where the corners are. The lender in your sale will probably require a new survey anyway and the new surveyor can set pins where he thinks the corners are as a part of his survey. Survey pins are lost all the time for a variety of reasons and it is no big deal.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:20 AM
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I don't think the neighbor has a legal obligation to replace the pins. I would start by telling the bank what happened. See if they will get a new survey to mark the corners. If I were buying a new piece of property, I would not be satisfied unless I knew exactly where all 4 corners were located. If the bank won't do it, you may be stuck getting a new survey yourself.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustUs4All View Post
The neighbor would be legally required to replace the pins only if he is ordered to do so by a court. Since you have no ownership interest in the property at the moment you have no standing to ask the court to issue this order. It is doubtful that you will find that the bank is willing to pursue this either.

Besides the pins are only the last surveyor's guess as to where the corners are. The lender in your sale will probably require a new survey anyway and the new surveyor can set pins where he thinks the corners are as a part of his survey. Survey pins are lost all the time for a variety of reasons and it is no big deal.
The court part is right. But the surveyors last guess is wrong. The pins were set at specific point of metes and bounds.

First did you talk with the neighbor about the missing pins?

The bank is not going to pay for a survey, I would bet on that.

How large is the property? Can you find the remaining pins? How many other pins are shown on the plat?

If this a residential lot and the neighbor is uncooperative, just pull a tape from the remaining pins. Put down some new ones where you can live with it and let the neighbor deal with the possibility of adverse posession.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:39 AM
Twenty five ought six Twenty five ought six is offline
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If the pins are on the line, the neighbor can pull them up if he wants to.

The survey, and the deeds that incorporate it define the property, not the pins themselves. Really good surveyors will drive a pin (pipe) in the ground, beneath the survey pins, so it can be located with a metal detector. Most folks laying out subdivision plots don't go to that much trouble.

Basically, removing the pins is a non-event, and has little practical significance.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo4116 View Post
The court part is right. But the surveyors last guess is wrong. The pins were set at specific point of metes and bounds.

First did you talk with the neighbor about the missing pins?

The bank is not going to pay for a survey, I would bet on that.

How large is the property? Can you find the remaining pins? How many other pins are shown on the plat?

If this a residential lot and the neighbor is uncooperative, just pull a tape from the remaining pins. Put down some new ones where you can live with it and let the neighbor deal with the possibility of adverse posession.
Jimbo, we agree on everything except the degree of accuracy of pin placement. I have too many times watched a second survey find a different corner. Some corners were marked a very long time ago. Equipment and technique is getting better all the time and the accuracy of the pin placement is getting better along with it. However ---

Just for the sake of argument (something that I love to do), a corner as defined on a plat is a single point. By definition that point has no dimension. The pin itself is infinitely larger than the point it is supposed to locate. Therefore, even if the pin is on the point most of the pin can not possibly be on it. I would venture further that the odds of any pin being actually on the point is remote. It should be close, but probably not actually on it.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Twenty five ought six View Post

The survey, and the deeds that incorporate it define the property, not the pins themselves.
Exactly.

But if there is a discrepancy between what is on file and what is "understood" there MAY lie a legal grounds for a breach of contract by any involved party.
If the surveyor who drove those pins after shooting the boundaries did their part in following a filed plat, all is pretty much OK. Make sure the plat has been correctly approved and filed at the appropriate office (township, city, county, state).
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustUs4All View Post
Jimbo, we agree on everything except the degree of accuracy of pin placement. I have too many times watched a second survey find a different corner. Some corners were marked a very long time ago. Equipment and technique is getting better all the time and the accuracy of the pin placement is getting better along with it. However ---

Just for the sake of argument (something that I love to do), a corner as defined on a plat is a single point. By definition that point has no dimension. The pin itself is infinitely larger than the point it is supposed to locate. Therefore, even if the pin is on the point most of the pin can not possibly be on it. I would venture further that the odds of any pin being actually on the point is remote. It should be close, but probably not actually on it.
I understand about pin placement but the defining metes and bounds are what define the property. If the surveyor put the pins in the wrong place that is an error.
But you cannot change the longitude and lattitude and the number of feet from each point. So the deed is still correct. I think that is why they call the pins monuments.

I love an argument as well. But with today's technology pins are usually more than just pretty close. I agree with you that points have no dimensions but lines still intersect. Those fractional deviations generally cancel out.

That said this is not the forum for argument.
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:14 PM
Twenty five ought six Twenty five ought six is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WTM45 View Post
Exactly.

But if there is a discrepancy between what is on file and what is "understood" there MAY lie a legal grounds for a breach of contract by any involved party.

Not really. The purchaser of land is charged with knowing what is on file regarding the land. Also the purchaser is charged with knowing what the boundary lines are of the land he purchases.

It is almost impossible to allege and prove a simple breach of contract in a real estate sales case that involves boundaries, which is to be distinguished from legal fraud.

If I contract to sell you 200 acres, and there's only 100 there, there is no breach of contract if you had every opportunity to inspect (which includes surveying) the property. If you chose not to do so, or rely on other erroneous information, then there is no breach of contract.

Contract suits on lands sales are made even more difficult because of the principal called "merger" and the fact that every deed has a merger clause. That means that regardless of what representations (or understandings) were made prior to the execution of the deed (which include prior surveys and monuments on the ground), the execution of the deed "merges" all of those into the legal description in the deed. The doctrine of merger, which is strictly applied in Georgia, pretty well shoots down any contract based action in real estate.

For the above reasons, that's why it so entertaining to read the responses to the recurring question about "how do I buy this piece of property."
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:00 PM
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I never said a buyer does not hold the onus to perform their due dilligence in researching what is on file at the courthouse.
That is understood.

I might have been more accurate in saying offers may be legally rescinded or a contract to purchase may be legally cancelled rather that saying a "breach" of contract, as that is entirely too broad a statement.

Last edited by WTM45; 07-24-2011 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:28 PM
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Ask your real estate agent or bank representative when the last
survey was done...Explain the situation and let the legal owner
of the property sort it out before you close....
At closing they will provide you a land plat of the property showing
exact locations of all pins...Then get yourself 3' pieces of rebar and
hammer them in the ground until only 1 ' sticks out....
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:42 PM
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One of my property pins is near a creek along a county road. The county road and bridge dept. were replacing the bridge over the creek and I knew they would be working near my corner pin. I showed the engineer the survey pin and told him I wanted the pin put back when they finished the bridge, he said ok. Well work started and sure enough once they started moving dirt with the excavator my corner pin got dug up. After the bridge was finished, I waited a few weeks to see if they replaced the pin. They didn't so I called the county engineer and told him. He apologized and had a new survey done and a new pin put back at the corner. I know this is a different situation involving the county and may not be the same for a neighbor situation such as yours.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:00 AM
Reel Big-uns Reel Big-uns is offline
 
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There are some unanswered questions.
Does the ajoining land owner know he pushed up the pins? Do you know his position on his definement of the property line, ie, in agreement of where the pins were set?
If so, is he interested in getting them replaced in the same location and to pay for it to be resurveyed or share cost 50/50?
You should find out if he disputes where the surveyer marked the property line. If he does dispute where the line should be, then you may be buying into a long term problem with him.

I don't think the Bank is going to find another buyer willing to purchase the property without a defineing and marked land line, but I don't know if the buyer or if the seller would be responsible for getting the land line markers replaced.
I know of some cases around me where two ajoining land owners just agree between themselves to where the line is. That works until one dies or decides to sell.
Good luck.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:33 PM
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Don't fret about all this legal junk yet. See if there is a plat on record with said pins described. Talk to the neighbor and the bank. It could be as simple as measuring from the other pins to locate the spot of the moved ones.
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