Buying a Home with an Easement

If  the  home  you’ve  fallen in love  with  has  an easement,  you may  be  wondering how this  affects  you.  An  easement gives  a  person  or  entity  the right to  use part of your  land,  but  only  for  a  very  specific  reason.  For  example,  a  utility  company  may have an  easement  on  your  property  to  maintain an electric  pole.  Another example  is  an  easement  which  allows  your  neighbor  to  drive  through  a  portion  of your  land  to  access  their  garage.

Easements  will  be  disclosed as  part  of  the  sales  process  and if  you’ve  discovered that  your  new  purchase  is  subject  to  an easement,  it’s  important to  learn  the different types  and  their  effect on  your  use of  your  land.  

Types  of  Easements

  • Appurtenant vs.  Gross  –  An  appurtenant easement benefits  the property, by  allowing  access  through another’s  land,  such  as  the  neighbor’s  garage example above.  A  gross  easement  benefits  an individual  or  entity,  such as the  utility  company  example  above.  
  • Private vs.  Public  –  A  private  easement  allows  a  specific  person  to  access your  property  while  a  public  easement  allows  any  member  of  the  public  to use  your  land.  
  • Affirmative vs.  Negative  –  Most easements  are affirmative  (which  is  to  say they  allow  something  to  happen)  but some  are negative easements, such  as preventing  a  neighbor  from  building  a  second story  that  blocks  a  view.  

Easements  are  not  permanent  and can be  challenged if  the  need no  longer  exists. If  your  property  is  subject to  an  easement.  It’s  important to  understand  how  it will  impact your  property  before completing  the  purchase.  

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