Correct me if I am wrong, but for some reason, many King County residents don’t seem to know all that much about their neighbors. Sure, if we live in Seattle, Bellevue or any of the other surrounding suburbs, we have a pot-luck, barbecue block party when the weather is nice in the summer. This gives us a chance to find out our respective names, ranks, and serial numbers. But other than that, the only other information we glean about each other is usually limited to: (1) the number of kids and perhaps grand-kids that we have; (2) the types of cars that we drive; and (3) how well we maintain our respective lawns. This is the essence of Seattle Nice; isn’t it?
It’s not necessarily that we don’t like each other. It’s just that we don’t want people that live right next to us to know too much about us. And more harmfully, we don’t want these same people to be regularly in our space. In fact, perhaps that annual block party should be held biennially instead of every summer. – I’m just kidding.
Notwithstanding, and this is no joke, if it appears that a land fight is about to erupt between you and your neighbor(s), make sure to learn as much about them as possible. What follows is a list of some of the questions that you should attempt to answer.
- Do your neighbors have liquid assets or ready access to debt?
- Are your neighbors reasonable or impetuous when making decisions?
- What are your neighbors’ appetite for risk?
- How headstrong are your neighbors? And most importantly …
- What possible benefits could your neighbors derive by engaging in a protracted fight over the disputed land?
Answering these questions correctly and then formulating an appropriate strategy predicated upon their answers is almost always going to be worth the effort and perhapse even expense of — legally — collecting this type of information. Failure to take this step seriously can, and often does, result in the loss of several thousand if not tens of thousands of dollars. So bottom line, just as the legal homework must be put into your case, so too must the homework that surrounds your matter’s “realpolitik“.