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Get Easements Color Coded and Plotted Before You Buy or Sell a Home

Check for Plotted Easements on Your Property in Middleton, Idaho

Hey, Brian Freeman here, thanks for joining me today. We’ll talk about plotted easements, why you want this done, and how it can help if you’re buying or selling a home or land.

Why You Want to Check for Plotted Easements as a Buyer or Seller

If you have an easement, it could affect what you can build on the property and the value of the property. For example, you could have an easement going down the middle of the property for a future highway or an abandoned easement. As a seller, you could remove an easement that could bring value to the property if it was known before the selling. If you’re a buyer, you could negotiate a price down if you find an undesirable easement, especially if the seller isn’t aware.

When Should You Order a Preliminary Title Report to Find Out About Potential Easements?

A seller can order a preliminary title report when the property is listed for sale or before listing the property for sale. You can also do this once escrow is opened up. You can also request this report once you get a buyer, but you lose the edge if you’re the seller and find out about an easement you didn’t know was located on the property.

Color-Coded Easements Make Things Less Complex

Once you request your preliminary title report, you must ask that the easements be plotted and color-coded. What they do is they go back to the actual title report itself and take the legal description of the easement; they put this on the parcel map, and this will tell you where the easements are. Having color-coded easements takes the complex language and puts it somewhere easy to interpret.

Color-Coded Plotted Easement Example

If you’re watching the video, I will share my screen to show you an example of what a color-coded plotted easement is from the title company. The APN is at the document’s top, representing the property. We will look at a parcel map with a scale of one inch, which equals 65 feet, and the subject parcel, parcel one, lot 49, which is 4.26 acres. In addition, the legend provides information on color coding. 


Parcel A is the parcel in question, but Parcel B is yellow, which has an easement with the neighboring property. It’s a 15-foot wide easement for ingress and egress, the road, and utility purposes. The magenta color on the legend indicates an easement on parcel two for the same purpose, ingress, and egress for the road and utilities.

Item Number Eight on a Title Report

Item number eight is a reference on your title report. It’s going to be referenced as item number eight there. A lot of times, it’s hyperlinked in the title report to the actual recorded document that’s referenced in the official records. So that gives you the legal description for what was recorded and described; you can also see when it was recorded.

Easement for Public Utilities, Referenced as Item Number Three

There was a lease on this particular property, and they put this solar energy system, an easement recorded against the property. You won’t see this one plotted, so it’s not on the report, but it does reference it.

Item Number 4 - Easement for a Public Highway

Item number four is interesting; it says, “Easement for a public highway,” and was recorded in 1980. This particular easement could be a problem for potential buyers, especially if they want to use the property for a specific reason, such as for horses. 

We found an issue with the easement bypassing through town. It wasn’t documented, but the radius continues 95 to 100 feet off the corner and through the bypass. It was close to a 0.4 to a 0.5-acre easement for highway purposes.

Contact the County to Learn More About Your Property

In another document, it shows the center line of the easement, which would then be an offset for the building setbacks. You couldn’t build or do anything in that area. But we discovered by contacting the county the bypass was abandoned. However, the easement’s still on the property. By contacting the county’s planner, we found out that the easement could be vacated. The buyers were not excited about this because they weren’t aware of the easement; the seller had no idea about the property easement.

Making the Property Easier to Sell

Removing the property easement makes it easier to sell and raises the property’s value because no easements are on it. Therefore, it’s important as a buyer or seller to find out about easements on your property so that you can get the land prepped to sell and vacate the easement or negotiate down on a sale price.

What to do if You're a Property Buyer Checking for Easements

As the buyer, if you knew the seller didn’t know about the easement and knew you could vacate it, you could potentially negotiate the price and then vacate the easement after you close escrow. If you’re concerned about the easement as a buyer, request to have it vacated before closing because there is no guarantee the county won’t come back and inform you that they changed their minds and will no longer vacate the easement. You’ll also want to determine the costs of having the easement vacated.

Wrapping Up

Make sure you get your easements plotted; check with the title company. You want to do this right at the very beginning to ensure you get the best value for your property. If you need more information on building, buying, or selling a home or land, feel free to contact us. Have an excellent rest of your day.

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