What is an Easement and How Does it Affect Your Property?
Easements allow a non-owner to have access to a certain portion of another’s property. Surveys should identify any easements attached to the property. Consider how if an easement’s placement might affect a potential buyer’s view of the value. Buyer’s may scarcely consider a utility easement. But other types of easements may be more noteworthy. Would a buyer offer the same amount for a lot which has a neighbor’s driveway easement” as they would offer for a property without the easement?
Many times, easements are granted to a utility company for the purpose of maintaining lines which cross multiple owners’ properties.
An ingress/egress easement allows one property owner to travel to and from a property over the land(s) of another. When considering installing a gate, it may be necessary to make accommodations for the neighbor’s easement rights.
When access is granted, stipulations are put into place as to how access is allowed, what maintenance is required or what improvements are allowed by either party. While the property owner may not be prohibited from placing a structure such as a jungle gym, tree or other improvement within the easement, the choice to do so should be an educated choice. The utility company may require the removal of the improvement to access buried lines, for example.
Sellers have an obligation to disclose this information to potential buyers. As REALTORS, we must help our clients understand the effects when listing or purchasing properties that have easements. This vital information could be detrimental to the success of our clients’ transactions. When questions arise regarding a specific easement, REALTORS should help their clients gather documentation such as the title policy and/or survey to consult with a real estate attorney.