A Swing and a Miss / by Michelle Linden

Our second try looking at a house, found us just around the corner from the first... This house had also been on the market for awhile, but we thought that it might be due to overpricing rather than any inherent problems with the actual building. Wishful thinking I guess.

Talking with the agent, he seemed to agree...While touring, we discovered that the house was pretty adorable (and larger than you or I would think looking at the photo). The kitchen had recently been redone and had all new appliances. Even though the house had a peculiar layout (we weren't even sure where to put the tv), we were pretty much ready to make an offer. Basically, we really only had two concerns. So, we decided that once we alleviated them, we would put an offer in...

The next day (which happened to be Monday) I visited the Seattle DPD to check out the plot plan. When we toured the property we checked out the alley out back. As I mentioned before, parking is very important to us. Because the house is on a very narrow lot, we knew that the only access would through the alley.... and we just wanted to make sure that this was acceptable before we went through with the purchase. We already knew after looking on Seattle's Parcel Viewer that the alley wasn't deeded, and technically wasn't a part of this property. Still, I was holding out hope that there was an easement that permitted the alley to cross over the 5-6 properties through which it was running. I mean... the last thing that we would want, would be to purchase a property and then lose our alley access when somebody decided to put up a fence.

Sure enough, not only was the alley not deeded, but there are no recorded easements on the adjacent properties. While in theory we could probably use the alley indefinately and claim (in land use court, if need be) that the alley was a prescriptive easement due to its historic use... that just isn't a risk we are willing to take.

By the time we figured all of this out, it really didn't matter that the roof probably needs replacing (our other concern). We'd already made our decision to pass on the property.

I guess we just need to realize that there is a reason some properties are on the market for so long....