An easement is an agreement granting someone (who has no ownership rights) the legal right to use a piece of a property. For example, you may own a driveway and allow your neighbor to share it because there is no other way to access the road from their property. Easements are also common for beachfront properties that have beach access. Property owners who agree to an easement may be concerned that the value of their NJ home and property will change.
Common Questions Regarding Easements
1. Are easements forever?
While there are different kinds of easements, the most common form is an easement that "runs with the land." Essentially, these easements will remain in place even if ownership of the property changes. The agreement is no longer just between two individuals but becomes a fundamental aspect of the property. This means that any parties interested in purchasing the property will need to agree to the terms of the easement in order to own the property. You will need to confirm what kind of easement you have before selling the property.
2. Will an easement lower the value of my property?
Maybe. A lot depends on whether or not potential buyers see the easement as an issue. Some buyers will not like the idea of someone having a legal right to use their property; some won't view it as a problem at all. This will likely depend on the kind of easement in place. If the easement will prevent the property owner from building structures or otherwise developing the land as they see fit, it could turn buyers off from purchasing the property. Some potential buyers simply will not like the idea of strangers being on their property, even if it is perfectly legal. A buyer who takes issue with the easement may make an offer that is below the listing price to account for it.
3. Can I get rid of a New Jersey real estate easement?
It is possible to terminate an easement, but it can be difficult if both/all parties involved in the easement don't agree. If the easement is truly no longer necessary, any stakeholders are likely to agree to end it. If, however, any one of the stakeholders resists terminating the agreement, the matter must be decided in court. This could be very expensive and might not be worth it if you are simply trying to make your property more marketable. If you want to dissolve an easement because the other party is abusing the terms of the agreement, there are legal recourses for you.
An easement itself will not lower the value of your property—but it might affect the marketability of the property and the number of interested buyers. Depending on the kind of easement, you may find that you don't have a problem finding eager buyers, especially in a seller's market. If you're not sure about the details of your easement or want to have it legally removed, work with a New Jersey real estate attorney to help you determine the best course of action. Veitengruber Law advises real estate agents and their clients throughout much of Central New Jersey.