Easements Can Impact Your Value
Easements are common, and can have an impact on your property value and your intended use. Easements become part of the title to your property and be assured that title matters are ultimately more important than the floor plan. There are many types of easements, some readily apparent, others less obvious.
Most properties located in a subdivision have public utility easements along the lot boundary lines, commonly referenced as PUE easement on the map of your property. You are limited in what you can do within the utility easement boundary because access must always be available to the utility companies.
Some properties have ingress/egress easements over or to them. Even if you are the dominant property, the one that benefits from the easement having been granted, you are limited in what you can do with it by what is termed "overburdening" of the easement. For example, if you have an easement access to your home, you probably can't create a 50 lot subdivision and have everyone traverse the easement.
Transmission line easements are important to be aware of, especially if there are no lines currently in place. Aviation easements can be a surprise if you want to fly your helicopter or model airplane from your house and realize that you have relinquished your air space rights. Far fetched? There is such a restriction in a Carson Valley subdivision. Conservation or agricultural easements are becoming more popular and limit what you can do with the property. Understand that these types of property restrictions will limit your successors in interest as well as yourself. It may not hurt you, but it could hurt your ability to sell to another party or limit your value.
Located on the Carson River? You have an easement that you might not be aware of, the public has the right to traverse your property in the riverbed up to the high water mark. Irrigation easements are prevalent in our region, and afford other parties the right to traverse your property if you don't maintain the ditch properly. Some properties have easements on them that allow them to be flooded to specified elevations, or sometimes unspecified elevations such as the case with tail water.
As we expand our population there are more people looking to access rural property. This has led to equestrian and hiking trails being created both in favor of the public or limited to specific property owners. Either way, you will want to know if someone has the right to hike or ride their horse over your property.
Our Advice: This is not to be alarmist about easements, just helping you to open your eyes so you get what you bargained for. Easements can sometimes be changed or modified with willing parties allowing you to buy the ideal property you have found. Easements can enhance or diminish value depending on what they are and what you want to do with your property. Understand what you are buying, not what you think you are buying. The difference can be expensive and unsettling. Understand the difference in easements. Some are granted by map or deed, others are obtained by prescriptive right, way of necessity, or even law. Often a Memorandum is recorded that affects your title. Whatever the creation mechanism, if valid they are impactive to your title.
Easements can be the proverbial snake in the real estate grass. Be careful - read your title report and look at every map and its details very carefully. Your Agent should help you with this
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