North Carolina Property Easements and Land Values


One of the things some property owners don’t realize are how important easements can be regarding land and property values. This post will explain a few of the ways easements can increase or decrease the value of your land in the State of North Carolina.

What is an easement?

An easement is a right to use land belonging to another. Common land usage rights include mineral, timber, hunting, power line, or development rights. Easements are held by a person or entity other than the property owner.

Not all easements are created the same.

There are a variety of easements. Here are a few of the ways they sometimes impact land value.

  • Access Easements:  These are very important.  Lots of rural land in North Carolina does not have good access.  For example, nearly half the land in Chatham County does not have state paved road access.  Without good access a property can be worth less than half the normal market value.  It is nearly impossible to get a bank loan without a good easement.  The opportunity for development or subdividing changes due to county rules.
  • Utility Easements:  Those giant “Iron Man” Utility Easements are devastating to property values.  I served as an expert witness in several Eminent Domain cases.  Large utility easements can drop values in half.  Though there is no scientific research that proves they are a health risk, the public perception is that they do.  Therefore there is a diminution in value.  Regular utility easements are fine and usually do not have an impact.
  • Gas Line Easements:  Large easements lower value.  Single easements to a building or home are fine.
  • Bridal Easements:  Normally these increase the value.  These easements give access to other horse riders.  It allows people to take long rides.  These are usually considered a feature.
  • Septic Easements:  Letting somebody else dump their waste water on your property has a negative impact on property value.  They shouldn’t, but they do.
  • Riparian Access Easements:  These are a good thing if you don’t have water frontage.  If you do have water frontage with a riparian easement it could devalue the property but only slightly.
  • Timber Easements:  These are only temporary.  No impact on value.

If you are looking to buy or sell land or have easement questions feel free to call me or visit my page on North Carolina Land Sales.