North Carolina Land Expert Eric Andrews has helped several people gain access to and sell their land. In some cases people thought they had proper access to their land, or they may have thought that their land was landlocked. Eric has 3 specific ways to gain access to truly landlocked land. 1. Purchase adjoining land or a strip of land from another landowner 2. Obtain an easement from another landowner 3. Lawsuits are an option if there’s already a road in place with no proper easement.
Speaker 1: So, when you get a phone call from somebody that has land that they think could be landlocked, how do you help them sell it?
Eric Andrews: So, if it’s genuinely landlocked, which means this is-
Speaker 1: It’s usually not landlocked though.
Eric Andrews: Well, we do have them every now and then that are truly landlocked, okay?
Speaker 1: Right. A lot of people think they’re landlocked, but they’re not.
Eric Andrews: Right.
Speaker 1: Okay.
Eric Andrews: Yeah. A lot of people think that they’re landlocked, but they’re not. We investigate whether or not they either have a road that accesses the property that, even though it’s not deeded, they could sue to have it legalized. Or there actually is some kind of chain of title reference to access. It is very, very rare that someone intended to make themselves landlocked. And yet they do it all the time because 50, 75, 100 years ago, people sold land to one another for much, much less per acre and it was just a handshake. Of course, you can walk across my property. Of course, you can drive. Of course, you can take your horse across my property. Or, of course, you can keep your cows there. And things have just changed now where things need to be much more legally precise. And if you want to get a half million dollar loan, the bank is going to make sure that you have really, really good access, so-
Speaker 1: If it’s truly landlocked.
Eric Andrews: If it’s truly landlocked, then our options are to obtain access. And you can do that one of three ways. You could buy an adjoiner that gives you access. So you can buy one of your neighbor’s properties. You can buy the whole property, you can buy a piece of the property. So that would be what is known as fee simple access. I’m doing two of those this month. I mean, that’s how common this is. Or you could just buy an easement. So the people maintain their property, but you have rights to drive over a 30 or 60 foot swath of the property.
Ideally, as a seller, you want fee simple access. Actually having a deeded piece of property that is recombined with a property that you already have to give you access. Done this several ways. One of the ones that I’m doing this month, thank goodness, it was a relative. And they said, “Yes, I remember daddy said, ‘When you guys got ready to sell this property, I had to give you an easement.'” So that was all nice and worked out. I said easement. They’re actually doing a strip of land. So that was nice that all the family’s still getting along and were able to cooperate with one another. And this is a 100 acre track in North Chatham, so very, very valuable piece.
Speaker 1: Is there a house on it?
Eric Andrews: There’s no house on it.
Speaker 1: Okay.
Eric Andrews: This is 90 to 100 acres that was deeded to three family members. And now they’re in their ’70s and ’80s and they wish to sell. But when they call up me, I said, “Well, the problem is you don’t have access.” So we had to get access. It’s all working out. We’re getting it surveyed. It’ll be on the market in a couple months, but it was truly landlocked. Then I had another one. It was a timber piece of property. The family inherited many timber tracks. They were truly landlocked. They said, “Eric, can you please help us out?”
We sent letters to all the adjoiners and came back with no response, okay? I had a couple people call me because of the way I wrote the letter. Said, “What are we talking? What kind of money here?” And when I gave them an idea, they were disappointed with the funds. The sellers wanted to know, “Well, what do we do now?” I said, “You let it marinate.” I said, “It could take a year, it could take two years. But something’s going to happen to those people’s lives where they need 20, 30 or $40,000 cash and they’re going to go, ‘Oh, I got the bank of this landowner.’ And they’re going to come to you someday and make a deal with you.”
Sure enough. I did it 18 months ago. This week, the gentleman called and said, “Hey, are you guys still interested?” I called up the sellers. The sellers said, “We’re very much interested.” And we’re doing a survey right now. And they don’t like that they’re paying $30,000 for one acre. They’re like, “Ah, that’s horrible.” Land’s only worth seven or 8,000 an acre out there. But that $30,000 purchase is going to make their land worth 100 to $200,000 more. And not only that, it’s just not sellable, marketable without it. So those are the ways. But there might be a road already there, okay? Even though it’s truly landlocked, there’s no deeded road, there might be a road there. Then they have to go and sue.
Speaker 1: Okay, gotcha.
Eric Andrews: Little bit more complicated, but you can make it happen.
Speaker 1: Yeah, all right.