You walk up to your brand new home the day that the construction crew finishes work. It's beautiful. It's everything you hoped it would be. You cannot wait to pick up the keys and go inside. It's a dream home.
There's only one problem: This isn't your property. You owned the next lot over. You didn't have time to check on the progress during the job since you went overseas for work, but you remember buying the lot. And this isn't it.
Does that sound like a nightmare, something that wouldn't happen? While it is a nightmare, history shows us that it can and does happen.
A vacation home disaster
One case happened in 2014, in Florida. The company built an enormous vacation home that clocked in at $680,000, but they put it on the neighboring lot. It was three stories tall and 5,300 square feet, and that whole structure was in the wrong place.
Astoundingly, no one even noticed at first. This is just the type of mistake you do not expect the construction company to make. It took about six years before someone realized the location was all wrong.
Moreover, it was a business investment. The people paying for the project planned to rent it out. They had to get it resolved or they would continue losing potential income. At that point, it became a very expensive mistake indeed.
Years in the wrong location
In another case, a woman actually lived in her home for years. It came to light earlier this year that the house was originally constructed on the wrong lot. It was a simple mix-up by the developer that had the home built long before she even bought it.
What made things even more complicated for that woman is that the developer went out of business during those in-between years, after she moved in and before the error got exposed.
The woman was, understandably, fairly terrified. This was her home. It was where she lived, where she'd carved out a life for herself. And she thought that she did it all legally and properly. Even so, she now worried that the person who really owned the land may try to take her house or at least kick her out of it. She identified that as her biggest fear as she looked into her legal options.
Could the same thing happen in California? Absolutely. These types of major mistakes may not be common, but they're incredibly serious and can lead to long-term legal battles. It is critical for those involved to understand all of their legal rights and the options they have to protect themselves and their investments.