Real Estate: California/Property Rights


Hello Kathryn,
I just bought a piece of vacant land out of town at an auction at a very low price with a clear title.  However, the neighbor on one side has been driving across one corner to get to his place, even though he has a driveway on the other side of his 20 acres.  He is crossing about 100 feet of my land.  I don't know him and would like any advice you might have about how to approach the situation.  He may be willing to stop, but if not, can I fence off my property line?
Thank you so much for any help!

Hi David.

I can certainly understand your hesitation in blocking off your neighbor's access. You're doing the right thing in checking out your rights before approaching him or building the fence. There are 2 areas you will want to check on:

1. If you worked with a Realtor on your purchase they were required to provide you with a preliminary title report, derived from county records, that details the easements, and the status of title and lien/s, and location and measurements of your property. If you didn't, and do not have this report, you will want to make a trip to your county records office. For larger pieces of land like yours, accuracy will depend somewhat on the age of the survey. If the map and measurements don't seem to match well with what you've been told or can see, the county surveyor may be willing to come to your property at no cost to re-take these measurements.

2. Research any easement rights that may follow the deed to your property. This would also be recorded in the preliminary title report. Easements are rights of way that are either negotiated and bought and sold with the property or are given due to long usage of the path over time. For a thorough explanation try this link:

Congratulations on your new purchase, David! And, you never know, you could be right, the neighbor might be fine with changing his path. After doing all of the above, try a friendly conversation that weaves its way to including the question of why he uses this path versus the other one. His attitude and answer may assist you in your decision. A decision made prior to asking the neighbor may start an otherwise unwarranted feud. Let's face it, who wants that?

Enjoy and good luck!

Real Estate: California

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Kathryn Hisert; Realtor


Everyone deserves an answer! My rounded background will provide you with information beyond ‘just’ buying and selling. I can answer questions regarding short sales, foreclosures, deed-in-lieu, home staging, vintage home related concerns, most mortgage related questions, and divorcing couples’ housing options. I am a research oriented individual who strongly believes in connecting all the dots and providing as much, or as little, information and communication my clients want or need. My expertise is in San Diego and Santa Clara Counties.


I started in the mortgage industry in January 2002. In November 2004 I earned my real estate license. The combined experience has provided me with experience within multi-faceted programs including, FHA, VA, 'hard money', private financing, short sales, foreclosures and conventional lending programs and purchasing guidelines. My clients experienced a 'one-stop shop'. Since July of 2010 I have concentrated strictly on being a Realtor with niche markets in vintage homes and divorcing couples.

N. San Diego County Association of Realtors California Association of Realtors National Association of Realtors


CDPE: Certified Distressed Property Expert CREDS: Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist ASP: Accredited Staging Professional

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