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value of an easement methodology

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Frank Bertrand

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Aug 21, 2002
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Certified General Appraiser
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Pennsylvania
Question from a colleague:
Given land locked parcel of 10 forest acres. value $1000/acre in current status: buyer was under the assumption that an easement would be granted for access, thus was motivated to purchase. Similar land locked parcels with r-w sell between 800-1000/acre; Then after purchase, the promised easement failed to materialize. Buyer seeks damages. Requests appraisal to determine damages.

Value of forest land with road frontage is $1500 acre. Value of easement is difference between land locked and free access acreage or $5000.00

Another opinion on this particular case is (mine) value of easement is the value of the partial interest taken on the required acreage: one acre full fee simple at $1500/acre minus improvements made by dominent estate minus the partial interest. easement is ingress/egress probably 8-16 feet wide for 1 mile m/l
Opinions welcome!!!
 

Terrel L. Shields

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May 2, 2002
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Certified General Appraiser
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Arkansas
Rules differ from court to court I understand. First, in my state it is illegal to sell a property without access (except to adjacent owners, of course) and the seller could be required to buy it back plus pay anything spent on it. Innocent bystanders can be required to provide an easement, but if the seller is selling off a tract from a larger one with access, he must provide the easement thru his property.

Again, in my experience getting an easement is generally a year long process or more. Then the provider of that easement generally gets a per acre value more similar to the amount of land given as opposed to the per unit value of the tract. i.e.- If $1,500 ac. land for 20 acres, and 1 ac. tracts are selling for $4000, you will pay $4K to get a 1 acre easement. In a similar case, a landowner w/ 10 ac. built a home and drilled a well. The well was 15' over on the adjacent owner. When the guy complained and went to court to force the miscreant to plug the well, they hatched a compromise. The encroacher paid one-half what he did for the entire 10 acre tract to get 2 more acres from the adjacent landowner. You will be penalized for being a dumb-dumb. (I'm sorry I have no sympathy for the stupid - such as dumbnuts buying land locked land.)
Another real goof is home made contracts for sale. One described a 10 acre tract as "2 acres by 5 acres". One of my clients has had to cure two tracts recently. A landowner sold an acre for a MH on contract, then sold another acre on contract (not recorded of course). These goofs made payments for years, then suddenly the landowner walks off and lets the mortgage holder have it back! To bail themselves out, one of the buyers had to buy the mortgage out from the mortgage holder, then give the other goof a deed to keep from having him sue. Luckily the original owner agreed to QC all of it and the Mtg. Co. was glad to dump the loan w/o formal repo. "curing" clouded titles gives one a rough estimate of the value of easements.

It is often hard to find these sales confirmed or ID'd in the public record because often they are not subject to deed stamps.
 

Restrain

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Jan 22, 2002
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Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Before and after is a beginning point. The problem comes with the fact that you have a limited number of people from which you can get the easement, i.e., 1. Therefore, said person has the buyer over the proverbial barrel. Then you have to add the legal costs to acquire the easement or to force the easement if the law allows it. This can exceed the original cost of the land.

The bottom line is the representation that the seller made. If this person represented that an easement existed and it was across some land owned by the seller (i.e., he's cutting out a part), then it should be relatively easy to force the easement. If, however, the seller only owned the landlocked tract, then it would be necessary to try to force him to do the acquisition under the terms above. Also, I would look at an easement by prescription. The buyer had to get to the site somehow to look at it. An easement may already exist.
Roger
 

Frank Bertrand

Thread Starter
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Aug 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
I finished up on this one, and a remark or two. First, there is no other existing easement to the dominant parcel. Second, in order for the present owners to inspect it, the land also borders state owned forest, where the public has ingress and egress at will, so there is access to the parcel, BUT no vehicles, power lines, etc can be put on state land to serve private interests.

as far as caveat emptor, It doesn't matter what the motivation was for the dominat owners to purchase, as it has no bearing on the issue.

Private easements are SLIGHTLY Different NOT.

Done, filed and on to the next condemation and so forth.

Thanks for all the opinions!!
 
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