If you are trying to become a homeowner in the Portland area, you have probably learned to deal with disappointment. After all, according to Realtor.com, the average price of a home has increased by nearly 5% over the past year to reach $575,000. Even worse, many homes sell for far more than their asking prices.
While it may be difficult to find a bargain, you may be able to save some serious cash by purchasing a residence in a multi-unit building. If you do, though, you undoubtedly are going to have at least one party wall in your new home.
What is a party wall?
Party walls are those that sit on top of property lines, giving them at least two independent owners. Because party walls often provide structural support to the entire building, all owners have an interest in keeping them in excellent shape. Your party walls also may act as sound or fire barriers.
What is a party wall agreement?
The party wall agreement is the official document that describes each owner’s obligations and rights as they relate to the party wall. With many established multi-unit buildings, there is already a party wall agreement in place. If there is none, you may have an opportunity to negotiate one that meets your needs. You probably can do this before or after closing.
What are your next steps?
If the property you want to buy has an existing party wall agreement, reading and understanding the agreement is part of your due diligence. Furthermore, you want to be sure your home inspector carefully inspects all party walls to alert you to any potential problems.
Ultimately, because tracking down and reviewing technical party wall agreements can be challenging, it may be helpful to work with an experienced real estate attorney before you purchase any property that has a party wall.