moving forward

So, some updates on what’s going on as we try to move forward with our immediate plans.

  • I found out that we do need a permit from the city to demolish the add-on. I got the necessary paperwork and will be filling it out today. I hope the permit isn’t too expensive.
  • I called around and found that there’s no official documentation of our property lines. One option was to rent a metal detector and see if we could find the metal stakes that surveyors usually bury in the ground. However, because we’re pretty sure the neighbor’s fence is partly on our property, we decided to go ahead and pay for a survey so we could be sure before we approach our neighbors.
  • I set up a survey for Monday. Yikes, that was more money that we didn’t expect to spend, but such is life, isn’t it?

Once the survey work is complete, then we will apply for the “building permit”. Once we’re okay with that, we’ll get my uncle to start taking down the porch. In the meantime we’ll start stripping the porch of things that we want to Freecycle.

Here’s the plan for the rest of the summer, hoping to complete this before it gets cold in the fall. I’m praying that we have enough money.

  • Demolish porch and deck. (My uncle and cousin will be helping)
  • Get quotes from contractors about the foundation. (I’ve already researched a list of contractors to call.)
  • Repair the foundation, put insulation back in the crawlspace. (Need to research about the best way to go about doing that. Also, need to install a vapor barrier.)
  • Get rid of our shed and buy a smaller one. May need to do the backyard in between the two. (Research setback laws. From what I’ve read so far, it seems we might be very limited as to where we can put a shed on our property.)
  • Grade the backyard and put in sod. (Will get quotes from landscapers for this after the foundation is taken care of.) This is essential to fixing the water problems because our backyard dips in the middle of the yard, so the water can’t naturally flow to the creek that’s behind our yard.

This will take care of the foundation problem, and also the water problem. (And taking care of the latter will help prevent future foundation problems!) An added benefit is that we’ll be able to actually enjoy our yard, free of mosquitoes and weeds. I’m really excited about these projects! I hope it doesn’t take too long to complete this list! And I hope we don’t have too many unexpected expenses, because already we are cutting it tight. (And having a $526 after-insurance hospital bill doesn’t help!) One potential expense is our fence – I’m hoping we can continue to use what is up right now (not sure how that works with grading the property, etc.), but I don’t want to ignore the possibility of having to replace it.

7 thoughts on “moving forward

  1. If the survey shows that your property line does extend into your neighbor’s fence, what then? Will you actually have them take down their fence?

    When we had a survey done, when we bought our house, we discovered our lot is actually shifted 10 ft further east than anyone thought (so, we gain 10 ft to the east, but lose 10 ft to the west). We still mow that 10 ft of “our neighbor’s yard” as our own. The strip of land probably belongs to our lot anyway, as it has always been considered our lot, and, under adverse possession laws, would be considered part of our lot if challenged. You may run into the same problem if you end up challenging your neighbors, under an adverse possession law in Georgia (From my understanding, it’s kind of like a common-law marriage, but it’s common-law land ownership instead)

  2. Well it’s our fence that is in question. I’m not so much interested in getting possession of every square foot but rather making the fence straight again. I think the previous owners of our house put up a fence that curved around (instead of following the lot line) – my guess is they wanted to save money perhaps? Not sure. Anyways, the neighbors then came and put up a fence and simply attached it to ours. So we just want to straighten out the curve so that the current 3ft space between our house and their fence is widened. Right now, it’s too small to let water through, and we don’t want the water flowing that close to the house anyways.

    We will approach our neighbors assuming they don’t know that that small piece is our property, and if they give us grief then we’ll have to look into laws. I hope we don’t get to that point!

  3. Joanna, I did some checking and it seems that in Georgia the adverse possession law is 7 years. Also, according to the internet, the house was last sold in 2000 so they have been there more than 7 years. I hope we don’t have any issues straightening out the fence!

  4. Ah, I see what you mean about wanting to straighten out your fence now- with the survey plus the obviously not-straight fence, your neighbors might be understanding. Do they use their backyard much? If not, the might not mind losing a couple feet. That’s the way it is with our neighbors, if they ever realized we had “claimed” part of their yard- they don’t use that part of the yard anyway, so I doubt they’d care.

  5. They never go in that part of the yard – it’s full of weeds and lawn trash (they throw their lawn trash against the fence). I don’t think it would really affect them at all if we “took it back”, but we’ll see.

  6. Ha, writing all of this- can you tell I have an even older house than you, and have had to look into all this stuff already? Also, right now we have about 2/3 of a real (not invisible) fence up. So, if you have any fencing questions, ask us :)

  7. Sounds like you are making good progress on getting things figured out! Also, it sounds like a good plan to get things done before winter. Hopefully, the survey will go well and you can get the fence moved without any problems.

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