Easements And Your Real Estate Closing: Should You Worry?
When you think of things that could go wrong during your real estate closing, you may think of liens that have to be paid off, or code violations. But what about easements? If your real estate attorney mentions that property you are burying may be subject to an easement, that may be a concern for you. Whether it actually should be a concern, depends on the situation and the type of easement.
What is an Easement?
An easement is simply a grant of land that cuts through your property; think of it as permission to others to travel on or through your property for a very limited period of time, or for a very specific purpose. All the easement does is grant temporary permission to use your property; it isn’t actually a grant of land, and whoever uses your property has no obligation to maintain, fix or repair the land.
For example, you probably knew about water or power meter readers who may go onto your property to read the meters, or county inspectors who may come onto your property to conduct routine inspections. They don’t ask permission from you beforehand. That’s because most property grants an automatic easement for these kinds of things.
When You Should be Concerned
There are certain kinds of easements that can be somewhat concerning. For example, the county or city may have an easement through your property, if the public needs to go through the property to get somewhere. Your home may be the only way for the public to access a beach or a public park. That means you can expect people to go through your property to get there.
If you purchased property from a developer, and there is still construction going on, the developer may have an easement through your property, allowing it to access areas behind your property, for the developer to conduct construction, or move construction equipment through.
Should You Buy or Sell With an Easement?
Easements don’t make your property unsellable, and if you are a buyer, you don’t always have to be concerned about the easement. You can buy the property subject to the easement, if you are OK with it. What is important is that your real estate attorney tells you about the easement, so you know what to expect.
Your attorney will know that an easement exists, because they must be filed in the public records; in the event that one is unrecorded, your title insurance company will be able to pay you damages, or challenge the easement on your behalf, as most title insurance companies do insure against unrecorded easements.
If the easement is significant, the buyer and seller can always try to negotiate a lowered sale price, to account for the easement, if it seems to be something that would affect the use or value of the property.
Make sure you are protected at your real estate closing. The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray is ready to help if you are buying or selling property. Contact a West Palm Beach real estate lawyer at our office today for help.