LANDLOCKED PROPERTY: Buying Landlocked Property

Land locked property
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You discovered a vacant plot of land next to a remote lake, the ideal location for your upcoming weekend getaway. Or perhaps you’ve discovered a plot of undeveloped land behind an existing mall that would be ideal for the restaurant you’ve always wanted to launch. Looking to secure it or getting an easement is one thing, and when there isn’t a road that leads to the land is another issue. If the property can only be accessed by crossing a neighbor’s lot. At this point, you’ll have a slew of questions and ideas will be running through your head, such as, “Should I just build and not worry about the landlocked property, or should I just sell it off on legal ground?” Alternatively, you might also think that obtaining access to the driveway will do the trick.

Landlocked property is the term for the land you desire to purchase. If you decide to buy it, you may need to use legal means to construct the access road. You’d need to get to it or engage in negotiations with your neighbors to secure the right to traverse their property to get to your land. Let’s delve in.

What Is Landlocked?

When referring to a piece of real estate that can only be reached through an adjacent lot rather than a public thoroughfare, the term “landlocked” is used. This kind of vacant lot might be behind a strip mall and is only accessible by passing through the mall. A landlocked property is encircled by other properties.

“Landlocked Property” Overview

Typically, landlocked properties are the result of a previous owner subdividing a large plot of land into several smaller plots and selling each one separately. A parcel can become landlocked if the subdivisions are developed without proper planning.

A landlocked property is surrounded by other people’s lots, as the name implies. The property is landlocked as a result, and there is no authorized road leading to it. The only access to the land requires passing via a neighbor’s farm.

An illustration could be a deserted area behind a mall. The area behind this lot is landlocked if the only access point is through the mall’s grounds. Another illustration could be land that is mostly underdeveloped and covered in trees. There could be other people’s lots all around the land. The land allotment is also landlocked if there is no road leading to it.

Land parcels don’t have to be inaccessible from the sea. To create an access road to the land they wish to purchase or to pass across to get to their property, buyers of landlocked parcels may bargain with the owners of surrounding land or properties for an easement or right of way, a strip of ground.

More so, depending on the owners of the adjacent land, this process can be simple or necessitate a drawn-out and expensive legal battle. If you don’t have access to a landlocked property, you can’t build on it.

Why Should I Invest in a Landlocked Property?

A person can choose to invest in a landlocked property for a variety of reasons. Since landlocked houses are less expensive, they might serve as a budget-friendly entry point into an otherwise pricey community.

Another reason to buy a landlocked property is if it is close to a future-expanding business or commercial area. In this case, holding onto the landlocked property and later reselling it for a profit when the business area grows.

Can You Deny Access to Landlocked Property?

No, you are unable to restrict access to the landlocked property. Even when there is no direct access, there are federal and state rules that permit access to the landlocked property. An easement or an easement by necessity is one of the greatest ways to provide access to a property that is landlocked.

What Is An Easement And Why Might You Need One?

You’ll probably need to obtain an easement from your adjoining property owner if you buy a landlocked property.

You have access to your landlocked property through an easement. It could be as easy as your neighbors permitting you to use their driveway as a shortcut to your property. Alternatively, your neighbors might permit you to construct a driveway or access road that crosses their land and leads to yours.

You might be able to directly bargain with your neighbor to obtain an easement, and this can also entail paying your neighbor a fee so that you can enter their property.

Never, however, rely on a handshake or verbal commitment. Sign the appropriate papers to formally establish the easement.

Sometimes, though, your neighbor may not be open to giving you an easement. In such circumstances, you might need to bring legal action to persuade a judge to award you an easement.

What is Easement By Necessity

You might be forced to seek an easement if the owner of the neighboring property won’t grant you one, even if you agree to pay for it. An owner is given access to their property through an easement thanks to this court decree.

You must demonstrate, typically with the use of a deed and title investigation, that your landlocked property and the surrounding property were once owned by the same person to obtain an easement by necessity filing.

If you can demonstrate this, the court will usually conclude that the landowner who divided the property failed to provide the road access required to make the isolated area of land value.

How To Get An Easement For A Landlocked Property

You can get an easement that allows you access to the landlocked property in several ways.

Working with a real estate lawyer who can create a documented easement agreement is crucial. Though, landowners will be better protected as a result of this.

#1. Survey The Land

Paying for a professional to survey your property is an excellent first step toward obtaining an easement. Your surveyor will learn more about the past of your land and its neighboring lots during this survey, which will produce maps displaying the precise boundaries of your property.

This study can reveal the existence of old access points to your property, which might make it simpler to acquire an easement now. The survey’s findings may help your lawyer make a stronger argument on your behalf if you need to file a lawsuit to get an easement.

#2. Contact The Property Owner

Meeting with the owner of the property where you need to cut a path to your land is the simplest way to acquire an easement. You may frequently agree with this owner.

Because the access you require may require payment to your neighbor, doing so will be less expensive and time-consuming than filing a lawsuit to obtain your easement.

#3. Make An Offer And Negotiate

Negotiation may be necessary to reach an agreement with the owner of the neighboring property. A property owner making a counteroffer after rejecting your initial request for an easement is not uncommon.

You will have to continue talking if you don’t like this counteroffer or the price your neighbor demands.

#4. Meet With An Attorney

Don’t decide on any of them until you meet with a real estate lawyer with experience in negotiating easements. Any easement agreements should be documented in writing. If there is a disagreement in the future regarding access to your property, you will have the paperwork on hand.

#5. File A Court Order

If you and your neighbor can’t agree on an easement, you may need to sue for property access. It is costly, time-consuming, and occasionally frustrating to file a lawsuit to get an easement.

If you are successful in obtaining your easement, your relationship with the owner of the next property can become tense. This is why seeking an easement in court should be a last resort.

In addition to providing a landlocked landowner with convenience, obtaining legal driveway access to a public road is vital to protect both the landlocked landowner’s and the land’s future owners’ access rights. Oral consent alone is insufficient to establish a person’s legal right of access.

Landlocked landowners will have fewer options for selling their property and/or utilizing it as security for a loan if there is no written proof of the legal right of access.

In general, title companies won’t offer title insurance for real estate where there is no legal access. Furthermore, land that does not have a legal right to use a public road is often not accepted as collateral by lenders.

In essence, you can legally sell a landlocked property by obtaining access to a public road in other to be on the safe side.

Obtaining Driveway Access to Landlocked Property.

You could simply require a right-of-way easement depending on how your land is laid out. This particular kind of easement enables you to cross someone else’s property.

You need driveway access to your landlocked property if you can’t reach a public road without crossing another owner’s property.

 You can access your property from a public road via a paved road on your neighbor’s property. If you can’t reach a public road from your property without crossing another owner’s land, you need driveway access.

An easement is a more generic term for the permission to use someone else’s property for various purposes. You need an easement to build a driveway if you can’t do so without trespassing on a neighbor’s land.

Obtaining driveway access or a right of way to your landlocked property allows you to pass through someone else’s property without being able to use the land or create any roads there.

Can you Build On a Landlocked Property

No, you cannot build on a landlocked property. You would require an easement to construct that driveway if you needed to connect your property to the main road but couldn’t do so without trespassing on a portion of your neighbor’s property.

A right of way allows you to pass through someone’s property without being able to use the land or create any roads there. Only when you have been granted the right of an easement can you build on a landlocked property.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying Landlocked Property?

Landlocked properties have both advantages and disadvantages for a buyer.

Advantages of Landlocked Property

A cheaper price: Because the land is landlocked, you might be able to negotiate a lower price for it.

Setting: Landlocked homes might be found in unusual or appealing places, such as woodlands or the crest of a mountain.

Problems With Landlocked Property

Limited access: The biggest drawback is how tough it will be to access the property. Do you have to walk through a neighbor’s yard, take a canoe out, or need a helicopter to get there?

Legal negotiations: In the simplest case, you’ll prepare legal documents and perhaps pay your neighbor anything in exchange for access to your property. However, acquiring access can be challenging and may require a protracted court battle.

Lender difficulties: Some lenders can be less likely to fund a loan for the land since it might be difficult for emergency services, such as firefighters and ambulances, to access the property.

In Essence

Landlocked properties should not be purchased by novice investors who are unfamiliar with the market.

Investing in a landlocked property can be risky, especially if you act rapidly without completing research or taking incremental steps. Remember, you can’t build on a landlocked property without obtaining easement access to create a driveway.

Landlocked property FAQs

Can You Build on Landlocked Property?

No, you can’t build on a landlocked property without an easement to construct that driveway if you need to connect your property to the main road.

How Can You Obtain Driveway Access to Landlocked Property?

Obtaining driveway access to your landlocked property requires a right-of-way easement depending on how your land is laid out as this particular kind of easement enables you to cross someone else’s property.

How do you unlock landlocked property?

A piece of property is said to be landlocked if no road can be driven directly to it. The only way to reach the landlocked property is to make your way through a section of land or property that belongs to someone else.

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