Proof of acreage owned by a seller if acreage # not on the deed and owner does not want to pay for survey how do you determine the acreage for the buy

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Proof of acreage owned by a seller if acreage # not on the deed and owner does not want to pay for survey how do you determine the acreage for the buy

Seller says he has 10 acreas of land and wants to list it, how does the listing agent determine the amount of property ? If you are working as a buyers agent and property listed says 10 acreas how do you protect your buyer to make sure there are 10 acreas? If it is just by buyer having a survey and the buyer has the expense of the survey then what if there is not 10 acreas after the survey is done? Who and How is the acreage determined on a transaction? You send a copy of the sales agreement to the attorney to close the deal, but the contract has no place to specifically say 10 acreas.

Asked on May 11, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You could refer to the records at the town hall to determine the acreage.  However, they frequently can be wrong and if this is a subdivision of land issue those records wouldn't even exist.  It would be nice for the Seller to get one done just know what they are selling; however they are under no obligation to do so.  The contract can be worded to read "10acres +/-"  Typically, however, the buyer gets the survey and if this transaction is getting financed the bank will require it. 

To protect the buyer language can be put into the contract that, subject to a survey, the buyer has the right to rescind the transaction if there is less than 10 acres.  Possibly, you could negotiate to have the cost of the survey deducted from the purchase price.  Of course, if the sale falls through, then the buyer will just have to chalk the expense up to the cost of doing business.

Please note, seller/buyer responsibilties could be different depending on PA law and custom.  To be sure you should run this all by an attorney in your area.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a real estate agent, there is a limit to what you can do for a buyer.  I'm assuming, here, that the Pennsylvania real estate laws, as far as they relate to listings and for-sale advertising, do not give you much help here.  In a situation like this, there is an obvious risk, and the real question is, how much of the risk is the buyer willing to take on.

If the buyer's attorney has no right to terminate the contract once it is signed, it would be a very good idea to have your buyer have his attorney prepare the contract, or at least a rider to the contract, to protect the buyer's rights.  Of course, the seller and his attorney will have their own point of view on that, and the differences can be negotiated -- or not.

In general, there would be a number of ways to approach this.  The contract could be set up so that the buyer would get a survey after the signing, and have the right to either back out or get the price reduced if the survey shows less than 10 acres, for example.


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