Lot with easement access- should we avoid it?

olivesmomMay 13, 2013

First of all our land search is getting really old, fast. Every lot seems to have some sort of "issue". Latest one has a recorded 30 foot wide easement along the neighbors 2.5 acre, square shaped lot for egress, ingress and utilities. The lot we are looking at is directly behind the neighbors lot and is land locked. The easement is vague. No mention of matinence, materials, nada. It was recorded in the 60's and the lot has been vacant since. The neighbors property, the servient tenement in this case, purchased the property in the late 90's and has a older mobile on it.

Right now there is no driveway to the dominent property (the one we want to buy) there are a few feet of gravel from the main road and then maybe 20 feet of a sort of overgrown path (no gravel-just dirt and grass/shrub) and then no visible path just thick brush. We would want to pave, and I'm not sure if that is okay. My online research tells me it depends on the state, I guess we need to speak to an RE attorney.

So should we walk away simply based of the fact that access to the property requires this easement? I've read plenty of horror stories and I don't want to deal with anything like that. Why, why, why didn't whoever split the property in the first place include a strip of access rather then a stupid easement???

If we decide to pursue, would you approach the neighbors and see how they feel about paving, or should we offer to buy the strip? Currently they have a flimsy catle pannel fence set up along the easement boundaries, fencing off their property from this lot. That kind of tells me they might not care, seeing how they've fenced not to include it. I'd rather just own the strip but I'd also like to just buy their property later on. I'm pretty sure it's an older couple living there, can't imagine they will be there more than ten years. I don't want to pay for the strip only to end up buying their entire lot later on.

Any easement advice? Thanks,

This post was edited by olivesmom on Mon, May 13, 13 at 13:41

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Hubby looked for hunting land for 3 years before finally closing on something last week. Everything he was looking at had some sort of easement, mineral rights or water rights issue. Every time something was discovered, he tried to talk himself into why he could live with the easement or issue. And every time I talked him out of it. I wanted nothing to do with the potential headaches.

I feel your pain.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 2:28PM
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"I don't want to pay for the strip only to end up buying their entire lot later on. "

Penny wise, pound foolish. If you have a chance to purchase access to the property you should do it now. You never know what will happen to the current owners. Heirs could inherit or they could have an off market sale. Lots of unknowns.

We avoided any lots or existing homes with easements, other than the standard utility easement that was usually about 10ft all along the front of the property.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 4:35PM
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The more I think about it the more I do not want to deal with an easement, just too many possibilies for issues. The only way we would purchase the property would be if we could also purchase a strip of land from the neighbors.

There actually is another easement as well on the other side of the neighbor's property, for a bridle trail. I wonder if it would be possible to utilize that in a potential negotiation, as we don't have an interest using the easement. Between the access easement and the bridle trail easement, the neighbor is quite limited in fencing option I would think. Maybe for a few thousand dollars and relinquishment of the trail easement (if that's possible) the neighbor might be interested. I have no idea how be would price a small stip of land that is already encumbered by an easement.

Chipsa: I agree, if we can purchase a portion of their lot for a *reasonable* amount then I would be inclined to do so, but if not then I think we will pass on the property. I don't even know if the neighbors are open to selling. And that's just one issue we still have all the other unknows to contend with- well, septic approval, "wetlands", etc. This land buying business is turning into a real headache.

This post was edited by olivesmom on Mon, May 13, 13 at 16:42

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 4:37PM
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Yes, not too many places have pristine, trouble free undeveloped land available. I'm in a more urban area and you either do a tear down on a good lot or attempt a difficult hill side build, the only type of undeveloped lots left.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 7:27PM
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