Many buyers aren't familiar with Easements in Western North Carolina. I would say that the majority of buyers coming to this area are coming from cities outside NC where there are mostly subdivisions. But here in Western North Carolina, many homes are located in rural areas outside of the protection of any subdivision rules and regulations.
So when you are moving to this area, if you are interested in a rural property this may be important information for you to know. A friend called me this week with an access issue for a property she owns. It appears that there is a parcel of land behind her home that may be landlocked. By this I mean that there are no clearly deeded easements leading to the lot in question.
Her concern was that the owner of the lot in question may want to use her land as access, since there is already an existing road into the area. There are other properties that the lot in question could use. But she wanted to know what her rights were.
In North Carolina it is illegal to block access to a parcel, or keep it land locked. So my friend has to be careful in knowing her rights. She doesn't want people driving through her property.
The owner of the property in question believes that she has the right to an easement through my friends property. I advised her to get copies of both deeds. This is the first thing to check. There has to be correct wording granting the right of way from one property to the other, and it has to be clearly stated on both deeds. This was not the case.
Next I advised her to look on her survey and the survey of the other property. A road should be clearly marked out on both surveys. There was an easement to the middle of my friends property, to her home, but it did not extend beyond that point. In other words it did not follow through to the back property. And the property in question has no survey.
My next words of advise were for her get an appointment with her closing attorney. It appears that the property in question has no legal right to access her land, but if the owner of the property that is landlocked pursues this issue, she will need legal advise to moves forward. Easements are a tricky thing and need the advise of a very good real estate attorney. The failure on the property in question was that this issue was not dealt with when the owner closed on it 10 years ago, when she purchased it. Now she can have a property that will never sell at a time when she is trying to sell it (it is for sale now).
If you are looking at property in Western North Carolina, and you are not within the city limits, or in the protected area of a subdivision, you need to look at more that just the land you are thinking of purchasing. What is around you that can effect the future use and enjoyment of that property? Always look at all parcels adjoining the property you are looking at, and investigate what can happen to you in the future.
What comes to mind here is what my first Real Estate Teacher said to us early on in the journey of this profession: The only thing you will know for sure in real estate will be that change will occur. And that is for sure a good one to remember. Change has changed the game over and over throughout the years, and in many ways. Make sure that your not a casualty of change, but rather a benefactor of it. Perform Due Diligence as if your life depended on it prior to buying a home or lot.
Jerri McCombs, Advanced Virtual Assistant
828/553-5190 or info@JerriMcCombs.com