5 Important Things to Consider Before Buying Landlocked Property
You may have discovered a vacant plot of land for sale next to a beautiful lake, and you think it would be perfect for building a vacation house. Or perhaps you’ve found the best 5-acre piece of undeveloped land you longed for to have your own ranch house. The only problem is that there may not be a road that leads to the landlocked property or you can only access it by crossing a neighbor’s lot.
Does this mean you should give up on the property? Not really. When deciding to buy it, you may need to use legal means to construct the access road you’d need to get to it or negotiate with your neighbors to secure the right to pass through their property to get to yours.
Read on to learn the five most important things to consider before closing the deal.
Why Would You Buy a Landlocked Parcel?
Landlocked properties usually sell at a discounted price due to the lack of direct access. So, you can get a bargain on land that would have otherwise sold for a much higher price. However, you’ll need to negotiate with the neighboring property landowners to access your property. Ultimately, buying land locked property may be an excellent way to enter a neighborhood or community that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
What Is An Easement?
You can obtain an easement from your neighbor if you buy landlocked property. An easement is a document that allows you to access your land locked property.
When obtaining an easement, you might be able to bargain directly with your neighbor. It could be as easy as neighbors permitting you to use their driveway as a shortcut to your property. However, it might also entail paying your neighbor a fee so that you can enter their property. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t rely on a handshake or verbal promise. Instead, sign the appropriate papers to establish the easement formally.
If, however, your neighbor isn’t open to giving you an easement, you might need to launch a lawsuit to get a court to award you an easement.
Right of Way
Your land’s configuration may just require a right-of-way easement. This type of easement enables you to cross someone else’s property. So, for example, if you can’t reach a public road from your property without crossing the property of another owner, you could require a right of way.
A right of way allows you to pass someone’s property without being able to use the land or create any roads there. For instance, you might be able to reach your property from a public road by taking a paved driveway that also happens to descend your neighbor’s property. If your neighbor agrees to let you use that driveway, you’ll have the right-of-way easement.
For comparison, an easement is a more generic phrase for permission to use someone else’s property for various purposes. For example, you would require an easement to construct that driveway if you needed to connect your parcel to the main road but couldn’t do so without trespassing on a portion of your neighbor’s property.
Easement By Necessity
Even if you offer to pay the neighboring property owner in exchange for an easement, they might be reluctant to grant you one. In this case, you may need to get an easement by necessity. This type of easement is a court decree that provides you access to your property through an easement.
You must demonstrate that the same person once owned your landlocked property and the neighboring property in order to obtain an easement by necessity filing. The court will then conclude that the landowner who divided the property failed to provide the road access required to make the land useful.
How To Obtain A Landlocked Property Easement
You can get an easement that gives you access to the landlocked property in several ways:
Ask The Neighboring Property Owner
Meeting with the property owner where you need to cut a path to your land is the simplest way to acquire an easement. Agreeing with the neighbor would be a less expensive and time-consuming way to obtain your easement compared to filing a lawsuit.
Negotiate with Your Neighbor
You might have to negotiate with the neighbor in order to come to an agreement. The neighboring landowner might reject your initial request for an easement and make a counteroffer. You will have to continue to negotiate if you don’t like this counteroffer or the price your neighbor demands.
Get a Survey Done
Choosing to pay for a professional to survey your property is an excellent first step toward obtaining an easement. The surveyor will get maps that display the precise land borders of your property and learn more about the history of your land and its neighboring lots. The survey may reveal previous access points to your property, which could simplify obtaining an easement today. In addition, the survey’s findings may help your lawyer make a stronger argument on your behalf if you need to file a lawsuit to get an easement.
Consult with an Attorney
Before you meet a real estate lawyer with experience negotiating easements, don’t decide on any of them, they should all be documented in writing. Then, if there is a disagreement in the future regarding access to your property, you will have the paperwork on hand.
File A Court Order
If you can’t reach an agreement with your neighbor, you might need to file a lawsuit. The process is costly, time-consuming, and occasionally frustrating, so be sure to consult with your real estate attorney. Keep in mind, however, that if you successfully obtain your easement, your relationship with the owner of the following property can become tense, which is why seeking an easement in court should be your last resort.
Buying a landlocked property can turn out to be a lucrative investment. However, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to gain access to your property. This may include negotiation with the owner of the adjacent property or in smaller cases judicial battle. Then, when you are ready to proceed with the purchasing process, make sure to check out online off-market listing sites like DiscountLots, to get the cheapest properties available.
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