Friday, June 21, 2013

Real Estate Word of the Day: Easement

I was talking to an old friend recently who mentioned new company had moved into Minneapolis/St. Paul area named FICO. I was taken aback by the confusion because most people living in the Twin Cities north metro are aware the business analytics company, Fair Isaac Corporation, has been located in Shoreview for decades. So the "new" company was just  Fair Issac being renamed as it's acronym, FICO. But it was eyeopening that few outside the real estate and mortgage industry may have made this connection.

Once again, I was a bit surprised that such a simple term I use everyday as a REALTOR® would be unknown to others. But then it got me thinking of all the times a glazed look came over a buyer’s eyes when I talked about escrow or earnest money. These can easily be confused with other real estate and mortgage terms like down payment or cash to close. It is totally understandable because most home buyers do not buy houses everyday.

There are so many terms that could possibly confuse a First Time Home buyer that I thought an online glossary of real estate terms might be helpful. So over the next several weeks I am going to have a series of posts for the first time homebuyer with explanations of the most often used (and sometimes confusing) real estate terms. This way you can skip buying that big “how to buy a house” book or attending that
First Time Home Buyer Class and have a quick resource at your fingertips. Today’s Real Estate Term is:

Easement—A right given by the landowner for a specific use of a portion of his/her property granted to a third party. Once the right is given and recorded on the title it continues unless vacated by the entity that received it. Common easements include utility and driveway easements. There can be more than one easement on any given property. When buying a home it is important to understand where the easements are as they can dictate what you can and cannot do with the land.

For instance, a new septic system, storage shed or flower garden cannot be constructed in a utility easement as the easement holder uses the easement for access to under and above ground utilities. Likewise a drainage easement could literally wash away your landscaping investment.

Driveway easements allow access to a landlocked property. While such agreements often provide an acceptable solution for access, they can cause headaches for neighbors who aren’t respectful of each others.

Easement holder does not own the land but has a right to use the land as specified in the easement agreement. This differs from an encroachment where a third party uses the land without permission.

Copyright 2013