If you are new to real estate investing, you might not want to become involved with landlocked property that doesn’t have clear access. However, if you are an investor, a risk-taker, a deal-seeker, or a real estate junkie then a piece of land with no access may be an exciting prospect. Most properties with no access are very cheap. There will be work to do after you purchase it, but that work can result in a large payoff. Super-cheap deals requiring a little work are the type of deals real estate junkies are always looking for.
Low Risk And High Reward With Landlocked Property
A property with no access is the vacant land equivalent to a house that needs a lot of cleanup and repair. Why is a property with no legal access such an opportunity? Let’s start with exactly what the term “legal access” means. “Legal access” to a property is the right of the landowner to go from their land to the nearest road. There is no such thing as landlocked property or land without access. The land just doesn’t have it, yet. Every property can get legal access. However, the ease and cost of the process varies; it can range from very quick and easy to very long and costly. If the nearest road is not connected to your property, you will be traveling over an easement. An easement is the legally specified part of another person’s property that you are allowed to use in order to access your property.
This is where the investment opportunity comes in. When you buy a property with no access you have to work to get access. Once you have legal access to that land, you have instantly increased the property’s value. Most likely, the value has increased significantly.
Obtaining Legal Access To Landlocked Property
The process for obtaining legal access to a landlocked property requires several steps. First, be absolutely sure it doesn’t already have legal access. To get legal access to a property that doesn’t adjoin a government owned road, you have to get an easement added to the landowner’s property you need to cross. Typically, easements are transferred with new ownership, but they aren’t always shown on the current deed. Sometimes easements are very difficult to find and are sometimes buried deep within deeds, leases, or other documents pertaining to a parcel of real estate. You can order a title report from a title company that will show access and utility easements.
Easy Option: Approach the adjacent landowner, and negotiate an easement that works for both of you. Point out that the neighbor will improve their land’s value by having someone next door that is improving the neighboring land. They also will know who is living there, and what is going on next door.
Moderate Option: A Real Estate lawyer will be the correct expert to have on your side. They know how to approach a skeptical, adjacent owner, and they have experience with creating easements.
Hard Option: A lawsuit is never fun. But real estate law is set up to deal with this issue. The courts will make sure the adjacent landowner gets appropriate compensation for the easement. The court will also decide on what type of easement is justified based on the property’s history. They will not award an easement that takes up too much of the owner’s property. You can also use the knowledge that lawsuits are an option to help arrive at an agreement with your neighbor, either with or without an attorney.
Whichever way you get your easement, make sure it is wide enough for at least one car, and have a clear plan for how it will be maintained.
If you are looking for a deal, or you want to turn one man’s trash into your treasure, take a look at landlocked property that others overlook because access isn’t there yet.