Real Estate: Have A Crystal Ball

14Jul18 New Pix

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Case in point: Do you know many municipalities can access a procedure that legally lets them create one large land parcel from two or more abutting lots that are owned under the same name? Folks often are surprised to learn this, but taken aback to learn the procedure usually can be completed  without notice to the owner and without the owner’s consent.

A corporation that would later become our client discovered this the hard way. It had an interest in purchasing one of three separate contiguous parcels. Each of them had been developed years earlier and each had a different use: Multi-family; retail; and single family. Although all three were under the control of a company that actually owned the properties and was selling them, they stayed as separate lots under a form of the technique known as “checker boarding.”

Though our eventual client was only interested in purchasing the multi-family parcel, the seller insisted all three had to be bought together as a package ― it was all or nothing. Ultimately the three lot package was bought through a strategy to resell the retail and single-family parcels promptly after the closing. Unknown to the client at the time, once the three parcels were purchased in our client’s name they were soon merged into one, which fact became abundantly clear when arrangements were made to market the two lots.

At this stage we were retained as management consultants and from that station learned our client hired an expert attorney to petition for the restoration (unmerging) of parcel lot lines to premerger positions. The client was optimistic due to the favorable specifics involved: No two parcels had the same use; and each had been fully and independently developed long ago with its own infrastructure, utilities and buildings. As the client deemed the matter an unwelcome expense and inconvenience rather than a potential obstacle, it commenced preliminary plans to market the retail and single-family parcels.

However, that inconvenience unsuccessfully dragged on for about three years. The municipality requested documents, information and introduced requirements that had no reasonable relationship to the lot-line restoration request, including such things as mortgage documents, names of tenants and property tax data. New requirements seemed to arise at each hearing. At one juncture the municipality alleged a lot-line restoration would increase town density despite the fact that the parcels could not be further developed.

In the end the merger stayed intact. The client released its attorney and halted its lot line restoration efforts believing the municipality simply didn’t want a multi-family facility to remain in the area of the client’s property even though zoning did not forbid it. Given the time elapsed and money spent, the client’s resolve and resources apparently were too drained to move to the next step, a lawsuit.

The bottom line: Either take nothing for granted with a municipal application  … or have a reliable crystal ball as a guide.


Need consulting, coaching or problem troubleshooting regarding other single-family or multi-family housing issues? We’ll be pleased to help you. Visit us at the Inhouse Corporation website or contact us at


Blog Terms of Use and Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to promote awareness and general discussion of the presented topic. Use of this blog shall be the reader’s agreement this blog is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional and each action that may be taken shall be under the specific guidance and oversight and/or performance of a professional qualified in the subject matter. If you have a question or want assistance with a featured or related matter please contact us at (include the blog article title on the subject line). Links, references and credits in this blog are for convenience only and are not endorsements by the author or Inhouse Corporation. Statements and/or opinions of guest authors may or may not reflect those of Inhouse Corporation.



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3 Responses to “Real Estate: Have A Crystal Ball”

  1. John Jesensky Says:

    John Jesensky

    Real Estate: Have A Crystal Ball | Inhouse Corporation Insights

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  3. USHUD Says:


    Real Estate: Have A Crystal Ball | Inhouse Corporation Insights

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