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Mr. Mac and Mr. Cheese were neighbors and friends. Mr. Mac bought a piece of land adjacent to Mr. Cheese’s property. However, to get to his newly bought asset, Mr. Mac must pass through Mr. Cheese’s area. Being good neighbors and friends, they agreed verbally that Mac could pass through the property so that he could get to and from his lot. For years, he was able to use the property as a right of way. Unfortunately, Mr. Cheese died and his heirs sold the property that served as a right of way. The new owners did not honor the verbal agreement that existed between the friends. Mr. Mac lost access to his lot, and for whatever use the land was to him, he cannot continue until he is given easement by the new landowners.
Sounds familiar? This is the classic case of easement – the right of way, and the dilemma of verbal agreements in such circumstances.
What is Easement?
An easement is a legal ability to use someone else’s land to use for a specific purpose. Landlocked properties are usually the kind of land that needs easement, to gain access. In the story, Mr. Mac bought a landlocked property and needed permission from Mr. Cheese to access it. Mr. Cheese permitted Mac to enter and exit to his property. In most cases, the agreement/permission would be written and recorded at a county clerk’s office. However, an implied or verbal agreement was sufficient for them as can be seen in this story.
When the easement is documented and registered, it becomes an encumbrance or a claim on the land’s title.
Kinds of Easement Including Right of Way
Easement is the right given by a landowner to another person to use his land for a specific purpose. It is also specific whether it is for the whole use or only a certain portion. Here are the different kinds of easements:
- IN GROSS is given to specific individuals or companies for a specified use, intent, or purpose. This kind of easement agreement is not transferable with the property when sold or transferred in other means. A new agreement must be drawn.
- Appurtenant is the kind of easement attached to the land. Right of way is an appurtenant easement that is passed with the property when it is transferred or sold. When buying land with an adjacent landlocked property, make sure to check for an easement agreement, especially before undergoing land development such as building facilities or improvements such as permanent fencing.
- Utility Easement is most commonly used by utility companies. They are given the right to use a specific part of the land for utility purposes such as electrical poles.
- Prescriptive easement is the right to use land without the permission of the landowner. Permission is given to an individual, at a specific period or length and the use of the portion of land meets requirements. Different states have different rulings on prescriptive easement.
- By Necessity gives someone the legal right to use a portion of a property as long as the need is considered valid. This is usually used for landlocked residential property with no access to a road except via another property.
- Private Easement is an agreement between individuals or companies that allows the person or company to access, build or maintain a structure on a property.
Effects of Easement to Property and Owner
If the easement agreement of Mr. Mac and Mr. Cheese was documented and registered, it would affect the sale of the property and its new owner.
Effect on Property Values
Easement affects the value of a property. When a property with easement is for sale, the land value would include it. When a property owner is offered an easement agreement by a landlocked owner, a real estate appraiser would be called to appraise the value of the property or portion of it. The appraiser adjusts the value based on the rights and easement used that will affect the surrounding property where the portion of easement will be enforced. Residential lots’ value is not affected by easements in most cases, because these usually on edges of the land or for utility management only.
Problems Property Owners Encounter
Be informed that if you have a property with an easement agreement, you cannot make improvements or build within the area where easement is enforced. Any structure that blocks access will be torn down. To ensure you will not encounter problems and develop the surrounding property optimally, know the placements or where the specific areas are.
If you are a buyer, find out in advance if there are existing agreements with adjacent landlocked properties, the kind of easement, locations, and with whom. Registered agreements are usually considered public documents, so research through the local registry office.
You can also ask for the assistance of a real estate agency, like Preferred Properties of Texas, to help you gather documents. Our Real estate agents at Preferred Properties of Texas are experienced with handling agricultural and industrial lands and know where to look and how to gather this information.
It is important to consider the price of homes for sale when making an offer. You risk losing your offer if you offer too much and the bank might not value the home at the amount that you have offered. However, this does not mean that you should offer more than the asking prices for a home. This strategy might sound odd at first. The sticker price of a car is what you would offer, but the extra $100 for a barbecue at the shop is not something you would do. However, buying real estate is a different matter. Sometimes, it makes sense to offer more than the asking price.
There will be many offers. We are currently in a seller’s marketplace. This means that there are more buyers than homes available. Sellers receive multiple offers for their homes. They will accept the highest offer, naturally.
To be competitive in such a market, you will often need to offer more than the asking price. You are more likely to win the deal if there are three bids at the asking price but you offer 2% more than that.
The house is priced well below market. Sellers who are motivated and want to sell their house quickly will sometimes under-price their property. This will attract more attention and result in multiple offers.
If you or our real estate agent agree that a home should be priced lower than it is, then asking for more than the asking price makes sense. In order to score a deal, you will outcompete other buyers by offering higher asking prices. However, you won’t overpay.
A cash offer must be rejected. Imagine your agent talking to the buyer’s agent about the pending offer for the home. It’s a cash deal. Cash offers are difficult to beat. Cash offers are attractive because they require less work and take a much shorter time to close.
You can make a similar deal, but the seller will likely choose the financing offer. You can make it worth while for the seller to accept your offer by asking for more than the asking price
In the past, multiple offers were turned down by the seller. What if multiple offers have been made on the house but none have been accepted? Although the home is still available for sale, you don’t want another buyer to reject your offer. This behavior is commonly referred to as “unmotivated selling”. Sellers will only sell if they feel it is worth the effort. You can make an offer instead of asking if you truly want the house.
It is impossible to let go of your home. Perhaps this is the only house you have seen that suits your needs. Perhaps you have a deadline and can’t wait to make an offer. It’s a great way to get extra insurance and make sure you don’t lose your home by making an offer above the asking price.
Deciding how much to offer for a home isn’t always easy! It’s important to have a good agent on your side to help you make these decisions. Contact us if you’re looking for a reliable agent to guide you through the home buying process.
Some people love the energy and hustle of urban life. Some prefer the slower pace and more tranquility of living in the suburbs. Both lifestyles have their advantages and disadvantages, so there’s no need to judge. It is important to consider your priorities when looking for a home. You wouldn’t want an SUV to drive if you are a sports car enthusiast. A home mortgage is much more expensive than a car payment.
You might be an urbanite, if you:
- Your nightlife is your life
- If you have a commute, it is not something you enjoy.
- Museums, concerts, art exhibitions, lectures, and other events will ring your bells
- Walking to the corner coffee shop is a great way to get your morning caffeine fix
- You can connect with nature by taking a walk through the park
- Your sedan was replaced by a 10-speed bicycle
You might be a suburbanite If:
- You want lots of yard.
- You will feel at ease by the sound of cicadas and hoot owls, as well as wind rustling trees.
- You are into playdates and PTA, as well as other pursuits related to parenthood
- You can commute to work as long as you have a good audiobook.
- Block parties and backyard barbecues with neighbors are great ways to spend Saturday afternoons
- Happiness is closer to nature than you think.
This will help you think about what you want for your home and community. Once you know what you are looking for give Preferred Properties of Texas a call so we can help find a place that appeals you.
Water is an important resource that continues to shape the development of Texas. The Water Rights law is complex because of the Lone Star State’s historical background and succeeding amendments to adjust to the hydrologic cycle and usage. Water Rights dictates who is given by privilege, quantity, and purpose. It also specifies the time and place where the water may be utilized. Texas law has divided water into legal classes with different rules on ownership and usage for each category. The most recognized of the classes are surface water and underground water. Surface water rights are more complex because it follows the British ruling, and other amendments based on the hydrologic cycle
What is the Riparian Doctrine?
Briefly, the Riparian doctrine is used in resolving water rights and usage conflicts. The fundamental rule is that water rights are connected to the ownership of the property that borders natural water sources such as rivers or streams. Water rights are covered by land proprietorship.
Riparian landowners have the right to use the water within reason and in consideration of the needs of other owners of lands with the same water source. Water rights are retained as long as the property ownership is retained.
Texas water rights use this ruling to resolve conflicts between landowners’ use of natural water within their properties when applicable.
What is Prior Appropriation Doctrine?
Landowners, lawmakers, and the courts from the Western States realized the Riparian Doctrine is not enough to cover rulings on water rights. The doctrine is not appropriate to the dry weather of the Western States, where the rainfall average is below 30 inches per year. Prior Appropriation Doctrine is therefore applied where water rights are not connected to land ownership. Instead, it is based on complying with statutory requirements.
Texas, like the other Western States, was unable to control the use of natural sources of water. Water belonged to no one and was used by everyone. The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation then was adopted to legalize the appropriation of the use of water from rivers and streams.
Combining Two Doctrines
Water Rights Adjudication Act of 1967 combined the Riparian and Prior Appropriation Doctrines. Any person who wished to claim a Riparian must file claims for the right by 1969 with the Texas Water Commission. Furthermore, anybody wishing to use surface water or drainage water must ask and receive permission from the state. The permission is granted by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Why is this drainage water so important that there is a need for a permit to collect and use? Drainage water is another name for diffused surface water or stormwater that naturally incurred after rainfall or snowmelt. Diffused surface water finds its flow from high elevation to low lands. By law, the diffused or drainage water is owned and regulated by the state. Thus, landowners must have a permit to collect this water. There are three general directives applied when drainage water is collected or diverted.
Directive 1 – Common Enemy Rule: Drainage water is considered as a common enemy of all property owners and the law enables all owners to establish measures to protect their properties, without considering the consequence of which to others or neighboring properties. For example, under this rule, Property owner A can take measures like diverting the flow of diffused water to a water duct in his property to protect certain parts from being destroyed or affected by the natural water flow.
Directive 2 – Civil Law Rule or Natural Flow: In this ruling, all property owners are entitled to the perpetuation of the natural flow. If an owner upstream manipulates and increases the flow, causing flooding to lower elevation property, the manipulator is liable to damages.
Directive 3 – Reasonable Flow: Flow of drainage water can be redirected by a property owner even if the extent of the diversion harms the property of another, provided that the action is considered within reasonable circumstances. The reasonable condition is subject to evaluation.
The law on groundwater in Texas is uncomplicated and easy to understand. Groundwater is considered part of the private property of the landowner. Property owners have the right to pump up or collect the water underneath their land. Simple, right? Not so, as all property owners share the reservoir of water underneath the land.
Adjoining properties pump on the same source; pumping up of one property may cause the quantity of water to dwindle or the well of the neighbor to dry out. The existing law on the collection of groundwater is called the “Law of the Biggest Pump”, which means whoever owns the most powerful pump can collect all the water, regardless of whether the neighbor’s reservoir runs dry. Owners are not liable for any inconvenience or even losses their neighbors might incur if their source of water runs dry.
There are only five circumstances where the Texas court will intervene on Groundwater rights:
- If there was trespassing on neighboring land to drill water by directly drilling a well on the property or a slanted well on adjoining property that crosses the property line via subterranean level, then the injured neighbor can sue on grounds of trespassing.
- If there was malicious or wanton intention to injure another by intentionally drying out the well of a neighbor via over pumping, then the court will intervene.
- If it is proven that a property owner or owners are wasting artesian well water by letting the water overflow their land or seep back to the water table, then the court will intervene.
- It is unlawful to contaminate or pollute groundwater.
- If over pumping from adjoining lands causes the other properties to sink or would have an injurious effect on the land, then the court will intervene.
These are the basic ins and outs of Texas Water Rights.
If you are contemplating buying land in Texas then call a knowledgeable agent with Preferred Properties of Texas to help you through the process of buying land and making you sure you have access to one of life’s most valuable resources on the planet water. Check out what farm and ranch properties are available.