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Legal Access vs Physical Access

How to Navigate Property Access Issues

Embarking on the journey of land investment presents varied opportunities, and understanding access is crucial. For those new to this field, it’s generally advisable to avoid properties without clear access – known as landlocked properties. However, for the veteran investor, or those with an appetite for challenges, these might be gold mines waiting to be explored.

Typically, these landlocked parcels come at much lower prices, drawing in deal hunters and real estate enthusiasts. Acquiring such property often means some post-purchase work is required. Yet, for those willing to put in the effort, the rewards can be significant. True real estate aficionados recognize that some of the best deals come from properties that need a bit of love and attention.

One of the primary factors affecting a property’s value is its accessibility. Potential buyers often wonder, “Can I easily get to this property? Will I need special arrangements like a boat?” Local governing bodies might even have regulations against developing on plots that lack proper access. Furthermore, financial institutions may hesitate to finance such properties, given their secluded nature.

For sellers, understanding and communicating about their property’s access is key. When discussing this with prospective buyers, the term to use is “landlocked”, signifying no legal route for entry or exit. It’s vital to emphasize legal over physical access; the latter can always be established later, say by clearing a pathway. Additionally, while some easements may exist, they aren’t always about access. Ideal scenarios include properties that have a direct frontage on public roads. But geographical features or other private lands might complicate access. In such cases, an easement, or a right of way through other properties, becomes necessary.

It’s also worth noting that simply having an easement noted for your parcel doesn’t guarantee direct access. When obtaining a mapped layout of such easements, it’s crucial to instruct the title company to indicate not just easements on the property, but also those leading to it, to ensure complete clarity about access routes.

If you find that there’s no access, it’s not the end of the road. Securing permissions from neighboring landowners or seeking legal avenues, like an easement by prescription, can pave the way. Should access disputes arise, seeking legal counsel is a wise step to affirm and enforce rights.

 

Remember, the type of easement granted is often based on the property’s past. It’s unlikely to be so expansive that it infringes heavily on the rights of another landowner. Knowing that legal intervention is an available route can also aid negotiations with neighboring properties. When you secure that easement, ensure it’s sufficiently broad, at least for single-vehicle access, and have a maintenance plan in place.

 

For those with a keen eye for unique opportunities, landlocked properties represent a potential treasure trove, often overlooked by many due to accessibility challenges. But with the right approach and resources, these parcels can be transformed into valuable assets.

Land Educator & Post Organizer at Checklands
Micah has been involved in the real estate industry for four years primarily assisting real estate professionals with networking and skillset acquisition strategies. Micah has personally acquired and sold rural land parcels in four states and has been an active investor in rural land portfolios in the region of Northwest Arkansas.You can reach Micah at Micah@checklands.com
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