Easement: What It Is? and What easements mean for homebuyers?
What is an Easement?
A property easement is an agreement for someone else to use your land in some way without actually owning it. This term may come up when your real estate attorney or title company is researching the history of your home.
For example, a neighbor may use a path that runs through your yard, or a utility company may walk onto your property to maintain pipes or cables.
How easements are created?
Property easements may be created by a legal document or a mutual verbal agreement, though the latter can be harder to prove and therefore harder to enforce.
The method you use usually depends on the reason behind the easement and whether you can amicably reach an agreement with the other party.
What easements mean for homebuyers?
Homebuyers typically discover property easements through three ways:
The seller discloses a land easement before you put in an offer.
The title researcher uncovers one during the title search.
You research the property yourself through the local assessor’s office or county clerk’s office.
If you’re buying a home, you should find out whether any easements are associated with it. You’ll also need to learn the purpose behind the easement and how it will impact your homeownership experience.
Prescriptive easements may cause headaches down the road, so inspect your property before closing on the home.
Talk with your neighbors if they’re encroaching on your land. You may decide to offer written permission for them to use your property, so the terms are clear.
A title researcher or the seller should tell you about relevant easements during the homebuying process. They’ll provide disclosures that explain how you and other parties can use your property.
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