Whether you are buying a home for yourself or you are investing in real estate on a grand scale, it is important to know about easements. Many people have heard about easements in real estate, but few really understand them. The subject can actually be very technical and involve a ot of legalese. However, it is not hard to get the basic idea.
Q: What is an easement?
A: An easement is, in simple terms, a right that is given to someone to be able to use property that does not belong to them.
Q: Do I sign a contract for an easement?
A: for many easements, there is actually a contract negotiated. This is often done when the property changes hands. It can also be done when someone develops a need to use your property.
Q: What are some easements that most people give up without realizing it?
A: Any utility usually has the right to an easement on any real property so that gas lines, sewer lines, electric lines, cable and other utility equipment can be installed and maintained.
Q: What is an easement by necessity?
A: This is an easement that occurs when there is no getting around the fact that the other person needs to use your land. One example is when someone’s property is completely surrounded by other properties and he needs to get to and from his property by going through another person’s property. In such cases, a road or path might be granted as an easement.
Q: What is a prescriptive easement?
A: Beware of the possibility of prescriptive easements being created. The way this happens is that someone uses your property without your permission on a regular basis, over a long period of time. If you do nothing about it, that person can be granted a prescriptive easement on the basis that he has already been using the land for a long time.
Q: Q: If I give someone an easement, does that mean they can do anything they want with my land?
A: No, it does not. An easement is given for an exact purpose. It might be given for hunting on land or for driving through the land to go to another property. Also, they cannot do anything that would significantly detract from the value of your property.
Q: Can the property owner still use the land?
A: Yes, but with limitations. For instance, the property owner cannot build something permanent on that piece of real estate.
Q: How do I know if there are easements on the land I want to buy?
A: The truth is that you might not find out about all of them immediately. However, established easements are often listed in the property deed or other documents you receive during the purchase of the real estate.
Q: How long do easements last?
A: Easements are generally said to last forever, unless a document expressly states otherwise.