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Landlocked Appraisal Question

Discussion in 'General Appraisal Discussion' started by gillespey, Feb 13, 2009.

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  1. gillespey

    gillespey New Member

    0
    Feb 3, 2009
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Texas
    I have accepted an assignment to appraise two pieces of property for a client, and I've already been paid, so I'd REALLY hate to turn this down. So looking for some advice.

    First property, dbl wide manufactured home on 4 acres which is accessed via a deeded roadway easement which extends from a non-public maintained "private" road that then extends about 1000' out to the public highway. The owner indicated this "private road" is owned by a neighboring property owner, and there are several additional property owners who access their properties from this same "private" road, and have so for many years. But according to my owner no easement has been recorded for this "private" road. It is paved asphalt, older and deteriorating, but not too bad.

    Second property is a 4.8 acre vacant parcel, next door to the first property, but accessed by a different road from the main highway. This access is a single lane dirt road that extends about 1000' to my subject vacant land tract. There appears to be only 2 or 3 other property owners in addition to mine that rely on this road to access their properties and it looks as though this has been the case for quite some time. Tax records and plats show this dirt road to have a private tax account number with older plats showing an owner name, but current tax records indicate the owner as "unknown".

    Been to the city of Austin (this rural area is in the ETJ), and the planner could not verify if the paved access "private road" had any public row. But he did conclude that these two parcels were illegally subdivided.

    Now I know what you're thinking, but I'd rather not walk away from these assignments, as I've collected (and deposited) a healthy fee, but that was before the extent of these conditions were discovered. And course there are no comps I've found in the past 24 months that have anything close to these conditions. m2:

    I'm not one to shy away from a difficult assignment, particularly in these tough times, so I'm hopeful that some of you might have some experience or insight in how to handle this situation from an appraisal/valuation standpoint.

    My first inclination is to appraise these with a hypothetical condition assumption that access to these properties IS available as evidenced by the history of access and use of these roads by several additional property owners, possibly indicating permanent access by adverse possession of these roads. Of course there would be oodles of disclosures in the report explaining these access conditions and the potential issues affecting market value and marketability if these means of access became unavailable.

    Sorry for the long discussion, but felt it prudent to explain the situation. Any thoughts?:icon_idea:
     
  2. Terrel L. Shields

    Terrel L. Shields Elite Member
    Gold Supporting Member

    342
    May 2, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Arkansas
    You have easements by necessity. If the easements are over 7 years old in most states they generally cannot be taken back if occupied "hostile and open". You have an easement alright but not a recorded one. Were the real owners attempt to shut you out, it is unlikely that they could get it done, but that does not mean it wouldn't be a huge headache and IT WOULD require a judge to rule on it. $$$.

    BTW, a few years ago I appraised a tract of 20 acres. The original "owner" borrowed money on the place. Then he sold off 3 tracts of 1 acre on a contract for deed. The trail down thru the 20 acres led to the 3 parcels and was shared with the original owner. That owner defaulted on the loan and the bank got all of the land back. One of the Contract for deed folks ended up having to buy the whole 20 and deed out the other 2 parcels to 'fix' the problem and I suspect the 2 other contracted properties have no real easement to them. never buy property on a contract for deed.
     
  3. David Wimpelberg

    David Wimpelberg Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    62
    Mar 30, 2005
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    New York
    From the information given, it sounds like you have one lot with an easement by necessity. There may be other factors at play, as Terrel mentioned, such as the length of time the easement has been used openly and notoriously.

    If the dwelling has existing for longer than the prescribed time noted by your state, then an extraordinary assumption might be reasonable. If not, or if the lot were vacant, the issue is more complex.
     
  4. Restrain

    Restrain Elite Member

    20
    Jan 22, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Florida
    In Texas, it's an easement by prescription. The actual use and enjoyment of the easement has created a permanent easement which cannot be closed off by the property owner. If you check with the county, the original "private road" may actually have been a county road that was abandoned at some point. The county road and bridge department should be able to give you some info.

    In any event, you have a legal easement even without recorded instruments.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Elliott

    Elliott Elite Member

    40
    Apr 23, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Oregon
    Purpose of appraisal? Ownership?
     
  6. gillespey

    gillespey New Member

    0
    Feb 3, 2009
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Texas
    Purpose of appraisal is a private valuation for the home owner who is thinking about selling.
     
  7. Elliott

    Elliott Elite Member

    40
    Apr 23, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Oregon
    It seems reasonable to require adequate access be provided by the
    owner to maximize his value. Doesn't seem to make sense to make
    the property more difficult to sell.
     
  8. narizona

    narizona Sophomore Member

    0
    Oct 29, 2008
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Arizona
    i state everthing in your report as you just did. however this acces is not hypothetical condition as you stated other property owners. this is a easement in gross- which is a limited right of one person to use anothers property when the right is not created for the benifit of land owned by the owner of the easement. an easement in gross is not attached to any particular estate or land, nor is it transferred through the conveyance of title. since theres been an understanding over the years that everybody can use this acces road its been in gross by all of the parties its common uses.
    i would recomend to the owners though to have a recorded easement with everybody to sign which will make it easy to get a loan when they do sell it.
     
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