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^ How to buy land from a neighbor?

We love our house, but the only downside to it is that it is on a pretty small lot (0.15 acre).  Our neighbor next door has a large lot, I think about 2-3 acres.  He inherited the house (small/old) and developers have been trying to buy it, but he's been holding out.  He's finally selling, luckily to someone who only wants to build one house on the lot.  DH and I were talking, the idea of seeing if we could buy a small piece of it to make our lot larger came up. The reason we'd like to do this is because we *LOVE* our house and our town/neighborhood.  The only thing we'd want to improve our house is to add a garage.  But the size of our lot now we couldn't.  If we could buy a small chunk of the land, maybe we could.  But we have no idea how to do this.  The neighbor's lot was subdivided at one point (into about 6 smaller lots the size of ours), so we may be able to buy a small parcel of it if the new owner is interested.  We'd probably need to have a surveyor come out and I we'd have to get a mortgage on it bc we don't have the money to buy in cash (we'd have a DP).  Is this possible?  Any advice on how to approach it?  Do we need to get approval from the town to find out if this is even possible?

Re: ^ How to buy land from a neighbor?

  • Not sure if this helps, but my ILs did something similar.  There was an empty lot between their house and a neighbor's house.  They bought the lot with the neighbors and then had everything re-surveyed so that they split the vacant lot, making each of their lots bigger.  If the new owners were interested, I'm sure you'd be able to work something out. 

  • It's possible. You may also want to check into your city or county's zoning regulations - sometimes you need a variance to do additional subdividing like that.

    ETA: I don't know that variance is the right word here, but there are sometimes restrictions in place. If you have an office of planning and development or zoning, they should be able to let you know if you need to do any additional legwork beyond the survey.

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • My dad recently looked into something like this.  He had to have a survey and plans drawn up.  Unfortunately it didn't work out because the lender of the neighbor's home denied.  They may have had to refi on the new property dimensions and I don't know exactly why, but the bank declined.  Of course my dad was still out the money for the plans/survey. 
  • Also, my dad was just trying to buy a small-ish sliver of their lot. About 10 feet wide, going back the length of the lot on a 1/2 acre lot.
  • I'd look into whether you are even able to get a land loan. Many companies don't do land only loans, especially for very small lot sizes that would be virtually impossible for them to resell at any value. 
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