In the intricate world of land development and ownership, there exists legalities that can grant the legal rights to someone to use your land for a specified purpose. This may come as a shock to some, but it is a reality.
What this concept is in relation to is easements. An easement means that a property can in fact be utilized by an individual or group of individuals that are not on the title to the parcel. In knowing this, you can now see how understanding the nuances of easements on subject parcels is crucial. But being the fact that these legal outlines also come with both benefits and burdens to the owner of said parcel of land, we find it to be especially imperative that you understand the concepts of easements as a whole and each benefit and downfall of them.
With our experience in land surveying and mapping in the greater Colorado Springs area, we at Apex Land Surveying and Mapping LLC have the capability to shed light on all questions and concerns about property easements for land owners. We will break down all of those aforementioned nuances that can either be a hurdle or a boon in the land development process, guiding you through these facets with clarity and precision.
Defining Easements on a Specific Parcel of Land
Putting a more concise definition to the term ‘easement’, it is a legal right to use another individual's land for a specific, albeit limited purpose. How this translates to our world of land surveying is as follows: Easements are critical as they can dictate how a parcel of land can be used or accessed. These usage parameters might be public, like a right-of-way for utilities or roads, or private, such as a driveway easement benefiting a neighboring property. The term “right-of-way” can also be used in conveying land for road purposes as well. This is a topic that will be discussed in a future blog post.
The Burden of Existing Easements in Land Development
One of the most significant challenges in land development is identifying existing easements. It is our job as land surveyors to understand the specific type of easement on any given property and the extent of which it will affect an individual’s or an organization’s development plans.
Easements can severely impact the development process, especially if they are not discovered early by our team. From legal disputes and project delays to increased costs and limitations on development, undiscovered easements can lead to several unforeseen setbacks.
Here is a closer look at some more common burdens of easements when they have not been properly identified:
Limited Control Over Land Use - An easement grants someone else the right to use a portion of your property for a specific purpose, which can limit your ability to fully control how that part of your property is utilized and even alter future development plans.
Reduced Privacy - If the easement allows others to access your property, it can lead to a reduction in privacy. For example, a right-of-way easement might mean that people are regularly passing through your property on a daily basis.
Potential for Land Damage - The use of your land by others can lead to wear and tear or damage, especially in cases where the easement is for activities like utility maintenance or construction. There may also be responsibilities for maintaining the area of the easement.
Decreased Property Value - Easements can sometimes reduce the market value of a property, as potential buyers might not be interested in a property with access by others or use limitations as a result of certain easements.
Difficulty in Modification or Termination - Once an easement is established, it can be difficult and quite costly to modify or terminate. This process often involves legal actions and negotiations with the easement holder.
The Benefits of Easements for Property Owners
While easements are often viewed as a limitation, they can also offer great benefits to landowners. This is especially true for those looking to develop a parcel of land that will need utility hookups, such as electricity and water or creating more value for landlocked properties.
Aesthetics do matter with regard to the value of a parcel of land. Conservation easements can preserve natural features of the land, enhancing its aesthetic value and appeal and in turn, will be a selling point in certain markets.
Here are five of the most common benefits to easements, showcasing the equal importance of having a land surveying and mapping company like ours identify them for you:
Property Access Rights - Easements often grant access to a portion of the property for specific purposes, such as roads or pathways. This can be essential for development, especially if the parcel is landlocked or difficult to access.
Overall Increase in Property Value - Everything goes back to money in property development. Properly managed easements, especially those that improve access and utility services, increase the value of a property as they make the land more usable and attractive for development.
Preservation of Natural Features - If you have forests, water bodies, or wildlife habitats on your property, easements will preserve them and enhance the environmental value of the property itself. This may also potentially provide tax benefits that help in reducing costs!
Control Over Adjacent Land Use - Certain types of easements can give a landowner some control over how adjacent properties are used or developed, which can be beneficial for maintaining the value and utility of their own property.
More Legal Clarity - Having a legally defined easement can prevent disputes with neighboring landowners by clearly outlining rights and responsibilities. This legal clarity is important for smooth development and future transactions involved with this specific parcel of land.
Creating New Easements: How and Why?
Creating new easements is by and large a strategic decision made in the process of land development. These can be established for various reasons – from granting access to utilities and services to ensuring emergency services can reach all areas of a property.
What this process involves typically is a legal agreement that comes from precise mapping services. Naturally, this is where we at Apex Land Surveying and Mapping LLC play a pivotal role! Our accurate mapping services ensure that new easements are created in a way that maximizes the land's potential while minimizing disruption to existing structures and natural features — Two specific pieces to the property development puzzle that we want to be sure our clients benefit from.
The deliverables that you receive from us at Apex Land Surveying and Mapping LLC for newly established easements include a formally written legal description that will now be established with your property, or if identifying existing easements is what you needed, we provide this information with the deliverables from your specific land surveying service.