Land Easements 101
Jack Butala: Jack Butala with Jill DeWitt.
Jill DeWit: Hi.
Jack Butala: Welcome to our show today. In this episode Jill and I talk about land easements 101. We’re going to define the three basic kinds of land easements and let you know what you need to know and what you don’t need to know and what you don’t need to know on our product type. Before we get into that, let’s take a question posted by one of our members. On the land investors.com online community, it’s free.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Jim asked, buying a property that has no deed on file with the county. But an affidavit for transfer of real property title and a copy of the will R. But I don’t have a vesting deed. Is that an issue?
Jack Butala: I think is a real serious issue.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. That’s funny.
Jack Butala: So like anything in this product type, you’re going to run into these crazy situations and there’s good news and bad news to this Jill. I always ask on these types of questions, when there’s issues to resolve with title and with ownership, what the economics are. So if you’re buying a property for a thousand bucks that you know is worth $85,000, you’re going to solve this issue.
Jill DeWit: Oh yes.
Jack Butala: Even if you have to [inaudible 00:01:13] title the whole thing.
Jill DeWit: Hire a team or attorney, whatever you gotta do, you’ll do it.
Jack Butala: If you’re spending $500 on a small piece of property really rural, and you think you can sell it for about $1500, I think I’d just close the file on this and walk away.
Jill DeWit: I’d walk away, yep.
Jack Butala: The answer is, is this an issue? Heck yes it’s an issue. Is it solvable? Absolutely. It’s going to take a bunch of time and probably two or three thousand dollars worth of resources. Depending on where it is in the country.
Jill DeWit: So that’s it …
Jack Butala: There are some people in our group that made this their career. And they do it very very very well. They have made a career out of buying property from dead people’s children, who didn’t have their estate in order. And they solve all those problems and take it off their hands for a substantial discount. So if this is your kind of thing, it’s not my kind of thing, is it? I don’t think it’s your kind of thing either.
Jill DeWit: No. Not anymore.
Jack Butala: It’s too easy to solve these problems by sending out more mail.
Jill DeWit: Right, exactly.
Jack Butala: And if you’re staring at 15 deals and one of them’s the one you just described Jim, and then you’ve got these other 14 there’s no issues and you’re going to make some money on them, why bother.
Jill DeWit: You know I have a question about this one too. If this is the only thing too, maybe it’s worth solving. But you throw something else in there, like now it’s got, it may have some associated back taxes because no one’s been monitoring it, no one can figure out how to transfer it, so why bother paying the taxes on it. Now you’ve got another issue on it, and that for me is even more reason to walk away. There’s so many properties out there. This is one thing I want to make sure everybody knows, stop hitting your head against the wall. Quit picking these hard things. There’s so many properties out there.
Jack Butala: This is how she talks to the kids.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. Why?
Jack Butala: It’s the exact same tone of voice.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. It’s hilarious.
Jack Butala: Like I just had a picture of my mom for a second. Like I was getting yelled at by my mom, how can I get out of here.
Jill DeWit: Right. Why are you making this difficult? Move on. That’s not the girl for you. It’s not going to work. I don’t care how great she looks.
Jack Butala: You could have picked a woman that’s a little bit thinner.
Jill DeWit: I tell yeah, great. Yeah that’s so funny. Move on. Up your numbers and move on.
Jack Butala: Up your numbers, that’s right.
Jill DeWit: There we go.
Jack Butala: You know, you should be upping your numbers anyway.
Jill DeWit: True.
Jack Butala: You should be looking at, I don’t care where you are in your career. You should be looking at at least ten deals on your desk all the time.
Jill DeWit: Do you know what? You should have so many properties in your queue that we’ve already spent more time than it’s needed to on this one. The fact that you’ve even typed it in, unless it’s a really really like you said Jack, it’s worth 85 and you can by it for 1,000. Okay, got it. But otherwise you’ve already spent more time than you probably need to.
Jack Butala: Here’s why people don’t have, every single listener here or every single member that we have don’t have ten deals on their desk at any given time. Because they don’t have the money. And I’ve said this since the beginning of starting land investors. That is the worst reason I’ve ever heard. If you don’t have time, okay I get that. Because we have more members who have money than we do members who have a ton of money and just want to partner deals, we have more members doing it that way than we have members who are interested in learning how to scrub data and generate a deal flow.
Jill DeWit: That’s true, and that’s a good problem to have. Because there’s a small group of people that really know how to do this well.
Jack Butala: Exactly. And then we have some who have both and are making an excess of six digits a month. Not going to name any names but I talk to them all the time.
Jill DeWit: I know you do.
Jack Butala: And they’re working their way through the silver membership, gold, platinum, and eventually black level.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Jack Butala: If you have a question or you want to be on the show, reach out to either one of us, meaning me and … Jill and me.
Jill DeWit: Who else could it be?
Jack Butala: Landinvestors.com.
Jill DeWit: You’re so funny.
Jack Butala: Today’s topic, land easements 101. What you need to know, and what you really don’t care about. This is the meat of the show. So there’s three types of land easements. What the heck is a land easement anyway, what is an easement. Listen, everybody needs to get to their property. That’s just all there is to it. If you’ve got to cross over another guy’s property and he’s got it all chained off and he’s standing there with a shot gun, your property might not be as valuable as it could be if you could just drive right up to it, like most of us do everyday. Drive, pull up our driveway. You drive down a street, that’s an easement. Pull up your driveway, that’s an easement. Pull into a garage, that’s your property.
Jill DeWit: I want to add, because I’m looking over your shoulder too, at your notes, because another good use that you don’t think about is where the power lines are. That’s an easement. For cable, everybody needs an access for water pipes, sewers, power lines, any public utility. Those are easements. They have to be there.
Jack Butala: Right, so this is easements 101 and we’re not going to get into a tremendous amount of detail. If we get a lot of positive feedback Jill and I will do a show in the future called Land Easements 202.
Jill DeWit: I like that.
Jack Butala: The first type of easement is streets. You drive down a street, who owns that property? The city owns it. It was originally subdivided and some of them apply APN’s to those properties. If you look through the list you can see.
Jill DeWit: It’s true, it’s funny you say, like oh look at that, oops that’s a street, I don’t want to buy that.
Jack Butala: APN’s are accessors parcel numbers and some of them don’t. But that’s an easement and gross. It’s just a street. Nobody owns it except the city, and it’s not taxed at all. The city’s responsible for it and they maintain it. Is public utility an easement and gross, do you know?
Jill DeWit: Public utilities? Yeah.
Jack Butala: That’s, okay.
Jill DeWit: Which, is it an easement and gross, or the other kind? It’s yeah, easement and gross.
Jack Butala: That’s what I thought.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: Jill’s much more academically intelligent than I am.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Jack Butala: I have the street smarts.
Jill DeWit: That’s pretty good, that’s a good way to describe us. Book smarts, street smarts. That’s really funny. Yeah I don’t have the street smarts I didn’t grow up where you grow up. My street smarts are, what do you mean? Don’t we always help each other, when someone wants in my lane I just kind of back up and let them in. What are you talking about? We all wave to each other we go on our merry way.
Jack Butala: I should be more like that.
Jill DeWit: That’s so funny.
Jack Butala: My resolution to what you just described is to not get in the car in the first place.
Jill DeWit: That’s hilarious.
Jack Butala: Or if you have to get in the car, get in the back.
Jill DeWit: That’s funny, here’s how we do it. If you really need to get over in the lane, you don’t just find your window and take it. You do sometimes, but most of the time if I really am desperate to get in a lane I roll down my window, make eye contact, like smile and wave. Seriously, and that works.
Jack Butala: I would let you in if you smiled and waved at me too.
Jill DeWit: See, and then when you let me in I wave at you from my rear view mirror. That’s how we roll here.
Jack Butala: That’s how people get married sometimes.
Jill DeWit: I know it’s hard to imagine, this is not New York, but this is how we roll here.
Jack Butala: I know it’s great.
Jill DeWit: Thanks.
Jack Butala: I bought a motorcycle specifically so I do not have to deal with any of that.
Jill DeWit: You did do that.
Jack Butala: Cause in California you can just drive between the cars.
Jill DeWit: It’s true. You might get me a scooter too that might be on my agenda here.
Jack Butala: I heavily researched that by the way today, I have all the answers.
Jill DeWit: On my scooter?
Jack Butala: Yeah, it’s a Vespa 300 GT.
Jill DeWit: Oh.
Jack Butala: It’s the bomb. And there’s a bunch of them on Craigslist. When I’m done with the show maybe we’ll go look.
Jill DeWit: Okay, well that sounds good.
Jack Butala: Second type of easement is an easement opportunite, which is what I described earlier. The driveway scenario. So you’re driving across another guys property lets say to get to yours. And that’s called an easement opportunite. And that’s the one that we talk about in our product type all the time. So if you manage it on google earth or parcel fact, you type in an APN and the property comes up in google earth, and you can see that it’s not attached to a road anywhere, but you can see a little two track path going across another guys property from a county road, that’s an easement opportunite. And they’re either recorded or they’re not. And if they’re not recorded and you can very easily, with consent of that land owner, he can lop off a tiny little portion of his property, get it re plotted, very inexpensive. You don’t need a survey or anything. And just record it and now you’re done.
Jill DeWit: Make it official right then and there.
Jack Butala: So does he still own the property? Heck yes. You do not own that property, but you own the easement.
Jill DeWit: Right, it allows you …
Jack Butala: It’s just as good.
Jill DeWit: Well the easement goes with that property, like say you own the back property. The easement is what that back property so you and whoever lives there forever has a way to get to and from their property.
Jack Butala: Yeah, it runs with the property so to speak.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: So now you’ve got a physical permanent way to get to your property. These things come up a lot.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: Enough for us to do a boring show about it.
Jill DeWit: What’s interesting to me is, we were talking about this as we were preparing, that say Mr. Smith, you don’t talk to Mr. Smith, he doesn’t have a house there. He’s the front property and you’re the back property. There is a law, and it varies years in different states where, hey I’ve been doing this for nine years or ten years or five years, that you can basically petition for an automatic.
Jack Butala: That’s a fantastic segway to the third type of easement.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Jack Butala: The third basic types of easements is called a prescriptive easement where, if you own a piece of property, a guy owns a piece of property in Texas but he lives in Boston, he’s never seen it. Let’s say he inherited it. And in Texas the property behind that property, they guy’s been going back and forth on his property to get to the owner’s Texas property for lots of years. That’s a prescriptive easement. Where at some point you do own that easement. You have to take legal action, but the court will grant you, it’s very easy simple easy procedure.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: And every state’s different. So in California you do it for five years, you can petition for it.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: In Texas it’s 30 years. And then all the different states are somewhere in between that.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: The easiest way is just to get consent from the owner.
Jill DeWit: It is. Hey you know what the nice thing is too, it’s a nicety too …
Jack Butala: Jill’s way, where you wave the guy in.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Because what if the owner says, you know I’ve been wanting to put a cabin here, I know you need property so it’s better to involve them. Because what if you’ve been driving on the East side of the property and he says, you know what, can we flip you to the West side of the property and you come at it this way because I really like the view. You want them to be involved. That’s the nice thing to do.
Jack Butala: I mean when is it not … the Hatfields and McCoys, all those guys died for a reason. Just better to be friends with your neighbor.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: Even if you don’t like them. Just smile and wave.
Jill DeWit: Right, that’s really good. I love it.
Jack Butala: Join us in another episode, where Jack and Jill discuss how to use information, that’s me.
Jill DeWit: And driving tips in California, an inspiration, that’s me.
Jack Butala: To get just about anything you want from Jill.
Jill DeWit: Wow. Smile and wave, we do it every day to buy property for half of what it’s worth and sell it immediately.
Jack Butala: You are not alone in your boring ass interest in easements.
Jill DeWit: We all want the boring ass easements. Hilarious.
Jack Butala: Stuff you have to know, trying to make it fun.
Jill DeWit: Someone’s got to do that. I’m going to blade my road and call it boring ass road, because I had to road.
Jack Butala: Because I need to get to my damn property road.
Jill DeWit: I love it. Because I’m not flying a helicopter in here dammit, road.
Jack Butala: Listen to the profanity.
Jill DeWit: Woops, sorry.
Jack Butala: Information and inspiration, we better cut this off right now, to buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at jack@LandAcademy.com.
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