Buy landlocked property
Buying a landlocked property can be somewhat different from buying a house with road access. On the one hand, it is often sold at a significant discount, since there is no direct route that allows you to visit your property. On the other hand, because landlocked land offers limited accessibility and is often the result of landlords subdividing parcels of their real estate, they often also come with greater conditions.
Example: If you’re buying landlocked property, chances are you’ll need to get an easement (which gives you the right to access someone else’s property) with at least one of your neighbors. If that doesn’t work, you may need to ask the local authorities for an access road.
Securing an easement
An easement can allow you to drive across designated parts of someone else’s land or give you permission to build an access road on their parcel that leads to your property. Easements must be formally codified in writing and your ability to obtain one will often depend on whether your neighbors are willing to play ball. If they are unwilling to negotiate (neighbors are often happy to let you through, especially for a small fee), you may need to sue and go to court to get the easement. Note: Easement or not, property taxes remain the responsibility of the new landlocked owners.
To obtain an easement in brief, you will need to:
- Hire a professional to carry out a real estate appraisal.
- Talk to the owner of the land on which you wish to obtain an easement.
- Make an offer to the owner and negotiate with him.
- Meet with a lawyer to get advice, review the terms of the agreement, and process all paperwork.
- If negotiations fail, ask your real estate attorney to take legal action to gain access to your property.
- Get a court order granting you the easement.
Understanding Right of Way Easements
You should also know that there are several types of easements. A right of way easement allows you to cross another party’s property – useful if you need to cross, for example, a paved road or a dirt road that crosses their land. Alternatively, it could allow you to build a driveway through their land that leads to your front door.
Alas, if your neighbor does not grant you one, you may have to apply for an easement out of necessity. Basically, a court order that grants you the access you need to your property through someone else’s land.
To get a necessity easement, as above, you will need to speak to a lawyer and take them through the process of filing a lawsuit so that you can get a court order granting it.
Filing such a lawsuit is often time-consuming, expensive and stressful – and will do little to improve neighborly relations. If you can make a deal, it’s usually beneficial to talk things out first without resorting to the court system.