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Could an easement complicate a real estate sale?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2023 | Real Estate |

The title records for a property determine its owner and also who might have some financial rights protected by the property’s value. Unfortunately for those who own real property in California, blemishes on their title records can quickly complicate real estate transactions.

Sometimes, there is a lien that people don’t expect or a previous owner still listed on the title, both of which can lead to challenges when someone wants to transfer a property or refinance it. Easements are some of the most common title issues that may turn up when someone wants to purchase a title report or title insurance policy.

Many easements don’t affect transactions

There are many kinds of easements, most of which can transfer from one party to another with few issues. If the easement simply grants access to the power company or allows the neighbor to use the driveway because they don’t have access to a central parcel in a rural setting, the easement will likely have very little impact on the ability to move forward with the transaction or on the value of the property.

In some cases, a property owner can potentially remove an easement, such as when it has already expired or when it has served its purpose and is no longer necessary. An example might include when a neighbor has installed their own driveway or well, making the easements for access or water rights redundant.

In some cases, the party hoping to remove the easement may need to go to court and pursue a quiet title action, which could allow them to clear the easement from their title records if the filing is successful.

Title issues can affect transaction timelines

If people know that there could be an issue with their title records, it may be a smart move for them to address them ahead of time rather than waiting until they need to refinance quickly to lock in a rate or sell a property as part of a move for a job offer.

Understanding the steps to take when facing a title issue can benefit those who are worried about an upcoming real estate transaction or about solidifying their ownership interest in a property that may be subject to an easement.