When preparing to purchase a real estate, you should be aware of easements and restrictions, including right of ways which may be recorded in the Deed. Among many, access to the property is one of the most important considerations.
An easement allows the owner of that easement certain rights over someone else's land, such as a right-of-way or right to install telephone poles or lines. Multiple types of easements can be applicable, If you'd like to learn more about easements, read here.
According to info.courthousedirect.com a right-of-way allows another individual to travel through your property. This benefits another person or another parcel of land you do not own. This grants access to anyone who may need to travel through your land and it is not specific to one individual.
According to investopedia.com:
“The right of egress is the legal right to exit or leave a property. The right of egress is usually used in conjunction with the right of ingress, which means the legal right to enter a property. Ingress and egress rights are important to homeowners since they allow access to their property.”
A restriction is a limitation placed on the use of the land (i.e., the owner cannot build within 50 feet of the adjoining street).
So how do you know if there are any easements, rights of way, restrictions or anything like that on the property?
Usually the seller is able to provide you with this information to help your analysis, but make sure to verify the provided information. If you are in the process of purchasing the property, the title company can provide you with a copy of the legal description including easements, right of ways, restrictions is applicable at no charge to you.
In addition, you must check with your county Clerk or Recorder office and ask for the copy of the deed to see if any easements, right of way or restrictions are available. Sometimes a Deed contains easements, restrictions, rights of way that are granted by one property owner to another.
Common easements include public utilities and drainage, access to the property, conservation easement while common restrictions are building height, setback distance from the street.
Keep in mind that restrictions can be recorded in the deed, but if the property belongs to Home Owner Association then if applicable they will be listed in Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) document(s) as defined by HOA. In addition, some other restrictions might be implied by County.
Therefore, during your due diligence, contact HOA to request CC&R as well as county Zoning or Planning Department and County Environmental Health Department to understand what you can do with the land, what are rules and regulations.
If the property is directly at the public road, in most cases you don't need to worry about accessing the your land as long as there is a public road leading directly to the boundary of your property without any access restrictions.
In addition, most properties which are part of HOA / POA community, have clearly defined access to the property.
Don't forget to check with the County Recorder or clerk if the Plat Map is existing for the given property. Plat helps an owner get an idea of the property shape, dimensions, and orientation, access of the parcel. Usually HOA/POA properties have plat map with clearly defined access to the property. An existence of plat map means that the property has been surveyed.
An access to the property should be taken seriously when dealing with vacant land, especially if it’s out in the country somewhere.
If plat is not existing or performed survey is old or includes larger tract of land than the concerned property it is advisable to get your land surveyed. Hire a professional surveyor to measure your lot and submit plat to the county assessor’s office.