It may have happened quickly or may have been the result of months of searching, but you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. You’re excited, you’ve made an offer, you’re starting to make plans to sell your current home and start packing and making your move when you suddenly discover there’s an easement on part of your property. Now what?

An easement is more commonly understood as a right of way that allows other people access to or across your property for a stated purpose. It might be your neighbor, or it might be a local utility company, but one way or another it is a complicating factor that you need to fully understand and consider before you move forward with your purchase.

An easement on a property will generally show up once you do a title search. There are different types of easements, including:

  • Right-of-way easement – This generally involves a long driveway that was built after the home that you’re interested in was built. In most cases, it involved a negotiation between a previous owner of the property you’re buying and a neighbor. This type of easement does not impact your ownership but does require that you continue to allow the other party access to the established passage.
  • Right-of-way grant – In this case, the easement is on your neighbor’s property and provides you with the ability to pass through their property. All that is necessary is for you to understand that the property you are passing through does not belong to you, though there are occasionally questions that arise regarding maintenance. It is a good idea to get a full understanding of what has previously been agreed to.
  • Utility company easements – these may belong to an electric or water company and provides them the ability to travel through your property to maintain their equipment.

Though most easements don’t present problems, that is not always the case. It is also true that not all easements are permanent: some can be canceled when the title to a home is transferred. Knowing that an easement exists and what it means can help to prevent future problems, making you aware of potential issues such as whether you are permitted to erect a fence or addition to your home, or preparing you for the fact that you may have constant foot traffic passing through your property so that people can access a creek or a beach.

That’s why it is important to request copies of all documents pertaining to the easement and have them reviewed by an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. This is particularly true for those who are administrating a real estate sale on their own. The impact that an easement is likely to have is something that you need to consider before you sign on the dotted line, and an experienced attorney from Legalty can help you understand all of the essential factors for a low set fee. Give us a call today!