I am excited to have Spence Hinkle talk to us about how we can sometimes increase the value of a piece of land, by hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes even millions, just by careful examination of the chain of title.
What is a Chain of Title? It Is The Complete List Of All The Transfers Of The Property In Question Going Back To The Original Government Grant Of The Land (usually in the 1800's).
How does this raise my property value? Once Certified, Each Additional Lot Is Potentially At Least One Additional Building Site, Usually Worth Many Additional Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars Now Legally Separated As Such. Additionally, The Property Now Has Development Potential That Was Previously Unknown Along With Added Flexibility In Financing, Inheritance or Sales. For Example, One 12 Acre Assessor’s Parcel In Los Gatos An Investment Group I Worked With In 2007 bought for $2,500,000 – was Appraised For Over $6,000,000 Six Months Later Just By Acquiring Five Certificates of Compliance Within This Single Assessor’s Parcel. This Parcel Was Zoned 20 Acre Minimums And Could Not Be Subdivided Because Of The Zoning Restrictions. These Legal Lots Of Record, However, Were Exempt From The Minimum Acreage Subdivision & Zoning Standards.
Do Zoning & General Plan Minimum Acreage Lot Size Subdivision Restrictions Apply? No, not usually unless your property has been designated a State Resource land of some sort for which it receives a Property Tax Rebate. They do not apply in most cases because I can demonstrate your properties are “Grandfathered In” under existing state subdivision law regardless of minimum lot size or density designations imposed by local zoning ordinances. This is because the Grandfather Clause in The California State Subdivision Map Act of 1974 & 1975 specifically Exempts Existing Legal lots of record from Compliance with The Current Subdivision Standards Enacted Therein as well as Later Amendments thereto and State & Local Regulations such as Minimum Acreage Designations Established by Local Zoning Subsequent to The Original Division of The Lots in Question.
How Do You Provide Proof of The Original Legal Subdivision of These Historic Lots?
Officially Recorded Transfer Documents, Located at The County Recorder’s Office, contained in the Chain of Title provide Prima Facie Proof of the Transfers of The Lots of Record and The Executed, as well as Officially Recorded Date Thereof, and The Current Grandfather Clause of The 1974 & 1975 Legislation as well as Previous Legislation Effective at The Time of The Original Division, such as The 1893, 1907, 1929, 1937 & 1943 California State Subdivision Map Acts, Establish the Legality of their Division at the time and Current Exemption From Later Passed Subdivision Regulation .
Dosen't Development Require Significant Infrastructure Investments? In Many Cases This Process Does Not Because Minimal Development Standards Are Imposed Upon Existing Legal Lots of Record as Opposed To Subdivision Standards for Roads and Infrastructure and Review. In many previous cases, I have been able to take existing lots & make minimal improvements such as septic approval, establish water and maybe a Lot Line Adjustment, Site Improvement Trimming and Opening of Views and Usable Land as well as Minor Road Improvements Resulting in Profits of Millions of Dollars with Minimal Time as well as Up Front, Out of Pocket, Investment and Risk.
What is your record of success? - A 100% Success Rate On Over Thirty (30) Certificates of Compliance Issued in Santa Cruz County Over The Last 15 Years. Additionally, Two Appeals were Successful When It Became Necessary. Over the last 30 years, I have Processed Hundreds of Applications for Administrative Certificates of Compliance In Many Counties Throughout The State Without A Single Denial.