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How much of an issue is an easement on a property?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

It’s a tight real estate market right now, with buyers jumping at the chance to own just about any property that comes up for sale. Just the same, you’ve finally managed to secure a bid on the perfect place.

There’s just one unexpected hitch: The property has an easement that may allow the public to cut through the back part of the property’s lot to a local fishing spot. Or, maybe it’s an easement that lets the nearest neighbor wander the ground for mushroom hunting. You’re not particularly keen on this idea, but is it really a problem?

It depends on the type of easement

Generally speaking, there are two basic classifications of easements: Easements in gross and easements appurtenant. Understanding the difference between the two could help you decide how to proceed.

An easement in gross is granted to a specific person or entity, for whatever purpose. It does not transfer to anyone else, but it may or may not be irrevocable once the property sells. In the case of a mushroom-hunting neighbor, their right to walk the land may cease when you take ownership.

An appurtenant easement is, however, attached to the land, so it automatically transfers to the new owners when the property is sold. That may be what you’re looking at when the situation involves an access way to something like a public lake. This is typically the kind of easement that is revealed in a title search.

If you’re concerned about the consequences of an easement on your real estate deal, it’s best to seek out some experienced legal guidance. You don’t want to end up with a case of “buyer’s regret” because you didn’t fully understand the implications.