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Check for easements before you buy that dream home

When you finally find that home that seems just right for your needs and budget, it can seem like its too good to be true — and it just might be, depending on the plans you have for the home and the property.

Many pieces of real estate carry easements, which are special privileges of use granted to some party other than the owner of a piece of property. These might mean that a neighbor has the right to use a portion of your backyard to drive through to the adjacent property, or may restrict the land from certain uses.

Easements may exist over your property, either placing restrictions over what you can or cannot do with the property. An easement may also give someone else the right to use the property, possibly without your knowledge or permission.

For homebuyers who run into an easement issue, there are remedies, but it is always easier to deal with the matter before deciding to move ahead with purchasing a piece of real estate.

If you face easements issues, be sure to seek out proper legal counsel form an attorney who understands the zoning issues in your city. An experienced real estate attorney can help you navigate through these issues and protect your rights as a homeowner.

Does your property carry an easement?

Whether you have yet to buy property or already own property with an easement, it is very important to understand exactly what the easement covers and who can use it. Once you fully understand the parameters of an easement over your property, you can more effectively fight it, or possibly find a way to work around it.

When an easement is created and placed over a piece of property, the court usually assumes that it is there to stay. Even very archaic easements still carry legal weight, even if their original purpose is no longer particularly relevant.

Positive and negative easements

Easements generally come in two varieties — positive and negative. A positive easement grants the holder the right to use some or all of a parcel of land, whereas a negative easement restricts the use of land for certain purposes.

A negative easement might act much like residential zoning, restricting a homeowner from building on certain parts of land, or demanding that certain geographical features like ponds or trees remain untouched.

This may affect whether or not you truly wish to purchase a piece of property, or may serve as a useful negotiating tool.

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