A local couple buys a new house, lives in it for years, before they learn they don't own the property on which it sits. What now? Local 12 Troubleshooter Howard Ain says there are some important lessons for all homebuyers.
A home builder built a house in Sparta on land this unfortunate man didn't own. It was years before anybody noticed. By then Chan Bradbury bought it. "We bought title insurance, did everything we thought we were supposed to do. BUT WHAT HAPPENED? Apparently there was no survey ever done and our house was built on the wrong lot."
Chan and his wife Tara bought a lakefront house from the home builder just before he closed down. "The builder's bankrupt so we're unable to go back towards the builder. Then we got served with a lawsuit this past August -- August, 2009 -- that our neighbor, apparently our house was built on his lot."
Bradbury was told the house was built on lot 107, instead it was built on lot 108. He paid thousands of dollars to the owner of that lot to settle the lawsuit. So now Bradbury owns the property on which his house sits but he also owns this lot right next door. Lot 107 has a mortgage of $156,000. Needless to say, the bank is not too happy about that. "The bank wants to refinance everything into one purchase and basically I'll be losing five years worth of interest and principal that I paid on the house."
He says there's a lesson here for everyone. "Make sure you have an actual survey form a certified surveyor in your hand before you buy anything because you never know what you're really buying."
Since the builder is bankrupt, the Bradburys are now preparing to sue the title company that prepared the documents, because it failed to catch the mistake.