Wednesday, June 21, 2017

After Investing Time, Money Into Repairing Recently-Purchased Fixer-Upper, 1st Time Homebuyer Stunned To Discover That Title Transfer Didn't Include Backyard, Shed, Part Of Back Deck

In Salmon River, Nova Scotia, CBC News reports:
  • Imagine buying a home with a deck, a shed and a big fenced backyard, only to discover you own neither the backyard nor the shed and only part of the back deck.

    That's what happened to Ryan Manning of Salmon River, N.S., who has since spent months looking for answers from everyone from the real estate agent and lawyer to the previous owner and the company that sold him title insurance.

    "It was a huge shock," Manning told CBC News, recalling the moment last fall when a man knocked on his door and offered to sell him the back half of what he thought was already his property.

    "I didn't know what to do at that point. I wouldn't have bought my house knowing that situation."
    He started working on the fixer-upper, hoping to live in half and rent out the other side to help cover his mortgage.

    Everything was going as planned until that fateful knock on his door in October 2016.

    Manning was stunned to learn the land his home sat on was one legal parcel of land while his backyard was on another. Each has a separate parcel identifier, commonly known as a PID.

    "I seen pictures [of the backyard] right there in my listing," said Manning, adding he believed the real estate agent.

    "They're the ones that are supposed to be there for me to tell me the truth about my property, to know what I'm buying."
    Not covered by title insurance

    Manning's lawyer, who has also since retired, did initially advise him to have a full survey completed or a location certificate obtained before purchasing the property.

    In a letter from Patterson Law, Manning was told an alternative was title insurance, which "would step in to compensate you if the property you purchased had issues with respect to location and boundaries, water potability, etc."

    It went on to say "a mortgage company will generally accept a title insurance policy in lieu of a location certificate or survey."

    Stewart Title Guaranty, the company from which he purchased title insurance, said the insurance covered the lender, not him.
    Agreement reached, says law firm

    Since CBC News contacted Patterson Law, which originally handled the purchase for Manning, it has been working with him to resolve the matter.

    In an email late Wednesday afternoon [June 14], managing partner George White said "we are pleased to advise that an agreement has been entered into between the parties which should result in a successful conclusion." It thanked CBC for bringing the matter to its attention.

    Manning isn't suggesting anyone intentionally deceived him. A lawyer for Genworth, the company selling the foreclosed property, said in a letter: "I don't think anyone knew of the second PID prior to the sale, including the purchaser and/or the Realtors."

    But the first-time homebuyer said the whole situation has created a huge amount of stress since he can't sell the property as it currently exists and he doesn't have the money to buy what he thought was his backyard.

    "It's something that could financially cripple you," he said.

    "I put so much money into my home to fix it up, to try to make it an income property."
Source: 1st-time homebuyer stunned to discover new backyard isn't his (Nova Scotia man told he doesn't own the backyard he thought he'd purchased with his home).