Any real estate transaction in California has the potential to get complicated in a hurry, based on a wide variety of factors. Leases, financing agreements, homeowners’ association restrictions, zoning – these are all areas where potential buyers and sellers can run into problems.
But, what about the land itself? What if there are existing restrictions that must be respected? In all likelihood, those existing restrictions come in the form of easements. So, what is an easement, and how might an easement impact the land that is at issue in your potential real estate transaction?
In short, an easement is a non-possessory right that is granted from the landowner to another party to allow for the use of the land in a certain way. Probably the most common form of easement, by far, is an easement for the use of utilities. Water pipes, electric lines and even internet connections could all run underneath or above your land, or the land you are interested in buying. Utility companies secure easements with landowners to allow for this use.
But, there are many other types of easements that could impact any particular slice of land. Access grants, for example, allow for transport over a parcel of property.
How will you know if there is an easement on your land? In many cases, the grant of an easement is documented – so there should be a record of the easement that will likely come up in a title search. Anyone in California who is looking to buy land will want to make sure that a thorough search for any easements or other encumbrances is conducted prior to closing on the deal.