Buying a home is easier when you understand easements

When purchasing a home or property in Massachusetts, people often move forward with their purchases without a full understanding of important issues, such as boundary lines and easements. It is great to be excited about a real estate purchase, but buyers will find it beneficial to ask the right questions to avoid future complications.

You may be surprised to learn that the government, utility companies, the public or your neighbors may have certain rights to access the property you recently bought or intend to buy. You can make your life easier and avoid unpleasant interactions later by understanding your easement rights before you even close on the property.

What is an easement?

An easement gives a person or party the right to access or use privately owned property. This does not give a person the right to come onto your land and start using it as he or she pleases, but it could mean that a person may be able to use it for a particular purpose. For example, an easement could give a utility company the right to lay cable wires on certain parts of your property or give beachgoers the right to drive or walk across your property to get to the beach.

Make sure you know before you buy

You would be wise to know if there are any easements on the property before you buy. The following are a few questions you may ask to better understand what is at stake and what you should expect:

  • Are there any easements on the property?
  • Where are the easements located?
  • What type of easement is it?
  • Who would have access to my property?
  • Is it an appurtenant easement, meaning that it stays with the property upon transfer of ownership?
  • How should one end an easement in gross with a neighbor?

As the property owner, you always have the right to know where your entitlements begin and where your neighbor's rights end. Addressing land use concerns now may help prevent costly and stressful legal battles over your property down the road.

The information you need

It is always beneficial to know before you buy. Asking the right questions and getting the appropriate information you need is quintessential to avoiding problems and confusion over your property rights. You have the right to know about easements before you buy, including the possibility of challenging an easement or future changes you wish to make to the property in the future.

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