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Old 02-08-2008, 11:32 PM   #1
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Default Home Buying Question: Easements

Fair warning, these may be dumb questions.

SWMBO and I recently hit our down-payment savings goal, so we've started looking for houses. I get listings emailed to me daily, and one I saw today was listed as having a drainage easement.

Please correct me if I've gotten any of this wrong, but an easement is simply someone else's right to that portion of land while still under the property owner's name? The listing says that 75% of the land in the rear is conservation/wetlands, so I'm guessing it's the town that has access to this part of the property to make sure that everything is flowing correctly?

Also, with it being a drainage easement (and the pictures showed a small river running along one side of the property), does that mean the area is most likely going to be flooded during rainy seasons? Does the homeowner need to do anything special in terms of maintenance for this?

Is this a property to avoid?

Please excuse the n00b questions, but as first-time home buyers, we're trying to make sure we do as much research as possible.

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Old 02-08-2008, 11:35 PM   #2
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Chances are that whatever bank gives you your loan will want lots of clarification on what the easements are. Not necessarily a deal breaker, but it could lead to extra red tape and headaches

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Old 02-08-2008, 11:43 PM   #3
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We bought a house back in "90 that had a ditch from the property line in for about 10 feet. The town maintained the ditch even though we owned it. I just looked at it as "not the yard". The part about wetlands would concern me very much. In NC, you are very limited in what you can do with wetlands. You can't build on it, mow it, touch it with a stick, etc..
I'd check out the regulations in your area covering wetlands usage. Also, talk to a neighbor concerning flooding from the river. We lived in another place where we got around 3' of water in our yard every time we had a hurricane. We'd get other people's piers, propane tanks. branches, and other stuff in our yard during each storm.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:13 AM   #4
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Any property need a wetlands/conservation area is not a good place to live. If that area floods and stays water logged they will take your land. Also, don't forget about flooding...living near a river is a dangerous prospect. You don't want to lose your belongings to a flood. It may be expensive to insure also.

My opinion only, but I would not recommend that area/house to anyone.

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Old 02-09-2008, 12:34 AM   #5
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I wouldn't buy land that was designated wetland and or a conservation area, at least here in Wisconsin. You won't be able to do anything with it, so you are basically buying and paying taxes on land you can't use.....

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Old 02-09-2008, 12:39 AM   #6
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In Fl you dont want to go near a wet land conservation area unless you really like mosquitos and soggy tennis shoes.

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Old 02-09-2008, 03:43 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the info. The 1.7 acres caught my eye, but like you said, if it's not usable, then what's the point. Thanks again.

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Old 02-09-2008, 08:31 AM   #8
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it depends on what you want. if you want the natural habitat, it could be worth a look. i'd buy a wooded lot, just to have some trees and a more natural setting that your run of the mill cookie cutter cluster feck...

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Old 02-09-2008, 08:33 AM   #9
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An easement is simply land that, for one reason or another is not going to be developed. The sidewalk in front of your house is technically an easement, since The Man gets mad if you build on it. If it's wetlands, then it's most likely federally protected which means it'll never be built on. I've read that the government is supposed to give tax breaks on people who set up easements since it'll never be developed. But like everyone else said, unless you want to put that house up on stilts, I wouldn't buy it.

Ooo it might be a good buy if you were in the Mafia and needed a place to dump bodies.

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Old 02-09-2008, 09:27 AM   #10
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natural habitat or not, wetlands are... well... wet for a reason. The reason is that they are at the lowest elevation when compared to the surrounding topography. I promise, that land floods on a regular basis. You couldn't pay me to live in a swamp...... er wetland.

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