What you should know about real estate easements

Purchasing real estate is exciting, but you have a lot of research and decisions to make to ensure you make a great deal for the property you want.

You may have a lot thrown at you at once when you investigate the property, but one thing you may not understand is easements.

Easements defined

When you purchase a piece of real estate, you can own everything on the deed. However, an easement gives a third party some rights to part of the property. In addition, your real estate may have above-, below-ground or both easements. In fact, you could have several easements on the same property.

Types of easements

Easements by necessity are legal easements. In these cases, a landowner may use legal methods to gain access to their own property through your property. An easement by prescription occurs when someone else uses a portion of your land without your permission for a specified period of time. The land use needs to be open so anyone can see it. Finally, negative easements prevent you from doing specific things on your land, such as building in specific locations.

You may also find express grants or affirmative, utility, reservation and public easements or easements by estoppel. For example, utility companies may need access to check or maintain your utilities, or previous owners may retain specific rights despite selling the property.

Finding an easement

Easements are typically found during title searches or through a deed investigation. You can also contact city hall, the county clerk’s office or public utility companies. Your deed should have a reference number that the county clerk’s office can help you identify.

If you find an easement during your property search, you can negotiate compensation or move on to another piece of real estate.