Farm Talk: Researching Plotted Easements when Considering a Real Estate Purchase

In this edition of Farm Talk, Paul discusses easements when buying or selling property. Paul explains what an easement is, and what the purpose of it is.

Paul also tells us some important questions to think about regarding easements of a property, such as:

– Who typically would have an easement over a property that you are purchasing?

– How do you find out about easements when buying or selling a property?

– How do you protect yourself when buying property, when it comes to easements?

So, why should you care about easements? Well, one of the many reasons would be because if you plan to build on your property, you won’t be able to build over most easements. Also, if a neighbor has an easement on your property, it may be startling to see someone on your property. You certainly don’t want to have these questions after you close escrow.

As always, Paul explains valuable information for us in a way that is both easy to understand and very informative. Tune in to learn more!

Also visit: http://vclifestyles.com, and http://homeandranchsellingteam.com

Transcription

Farm Talk: Researching Plotted Easements when Considering a Real Estate Purchase

Today we’re going to be talking about easements when buying or selling property. So basically, what is an easement? Essentially, it’s the right to pass over someone else’s property for a specific purpose. Some important questions to think about; would be who typically would have an easement over a property that you are purchasing? How do you find out about easements when buying or selling? Why is it even important to know that? Why should I care about easements on my property? How do you protect yourself when buying property when it comes to easements? Also, equally important – what if an easement is not recorded? How do you find out? As I mentioned, an easement is the right to pass over a property you don’t own for an expressed purpose.

Typically, we think of utility companies as having easements to deliver power – power poles, underground water and gas lines. Those are easements and they are recorded documents. Some properties may even have a regional utility line overhead or underground that would be an even larger easement. Also, a neighbor may have an easement, especially for larger properties or properties that don’t have street access. A property owner may pass through another property to get to their own. Or perhaps they have two entrances to their property; one with street access and then a less used back entrance – that is technically an easement.

When buying, you want to order a plotted easement map through the title company. This is a color-coded document that shows each individual easement in a different color. The document will show how long and how wide the easement is through the property. You can order the supporting materials that show the right of the easement holder to pass through. Why should you care about this now? Certainly, if you have plans to expand the structures you’re going to want to know, you likely will not be able to build on top of most any easements. You may also be startled by a neighboring pass through your property. You certainly don’t want to have the question, “Who’s that on my property?” after you close escrow.

How do you protect yourself? As I said earlier, you want to get the plotted easement map. It will show you the recorded easements on the property, but it will not show you the unrecorded easements. These would be considered prescriptive easements. If someone has passed over a property for five years unencumbered without anybody stopping them, they likely have what we call a prescriptive easement that could sometimes be held up in court.

You’re going to want to ask the seller and they are supposed to disclose this to you, but it doesn’t always happen. You should also ask the neighbors around the property that you’re considering, it may not be as important in town. If you’re in a tract home neighborhood, there’s probably nobody that has a reason to go through your backyard. But certainly, if you’re buying a country home or you’re buying a large tract of land, it’s an important question.

I recently sold a property that had a hillside orchard and the orchard was essentially landlocked for picking purposes. There were entry roads along the street where pickers could come through various properties to service and pick the hillside orchards. So, this was certainly a disclosure on the part of the seller to let the buyer know that there would be workers passing

through these roads behind his house to reach other neighbors for pruning and picking purposes.

It’s certainly something that you’re going to want to find out. Most easements are going to be recorded, but not always. You’re going to want to ask the seller and you’re going to certainly want to ask the neighbors about any unrecorded or prescriptive easements.

We’d love to hear from you! As always, feel free to email Paul@homeandranchsellingteam.com or message us.