At a Glance (max 300 characters):
Meta Description (max 160 characters): Buying a home with a shared driveway easement requires you to be a good neighbor. The best way to do that is to learn about what an easement is.
Easement is a shared right to property between multiple parties but can turn complicated if you want to legally terminate or adjust them. Choosing to buy a home with a shared driveway can be stressful but might be a necessity for some home buyers. It’s vital you work with an experienced local realtor who can help you understand what a shared driveway easement means.
Here are five things to think about before you invest in a home with this kind of driveway arrangement.
1. Costs Will Be Shared
One of the most apparent benefits of sharing any piece of property is that you don’t have to bear the full weight of maintenance costs. Repairing or repaving a driveway can be costly and being able to share it with someone is a clear benefit to all parties. While a paved driveway adds value to a home, repaving it has real costs.
If you’re buying a home in a region where snow and extreme weather are a problem, splitting the costs of clearing your driveway makes things much easier. Snow removal is a fact of life for many homeowners and sharing the burden is a positive benefit.
If you’re in a flood zone or region at or below sea level, it’s good to have someone who can help ensure that the driveway gets repaired quickly. Splitting the cost can be a huge plus here.
2. It All Depends On The Property Title
The details of how you split your driveway depends on the language of the property title. While some neighbors will be lenient, never assume that you have more rights than are laid out in the title.
Read your property easement to ensure that your rights and your repair responsibilities are equitable. It’s also a good idea to get a property survey performed so you know your property’s boundaries of your easement. There might be sections you have access to and other sections you don’t have access to.
Rather than encroach on your neighbor’s territory or fear any conflict, looking at the title on your own is a helpful way to stay informed.
3. Rules Are Set Before You Arrived
The rules about your shared driveway easement are usually set before you buy the home. There are plenty of reasons to be frustrated about this but the fact of the matter is that you’re subject to what was decided by the first people who built or moved onto the property.
While you can try to make changes, it requires sitting down with your neighbor and for each of you to hire an attorney. This might be necessary if the current easement is limiting your access to your home, but otherwise, it might not be the hill to die on.
For homeowners looking to repair their vehicle along the driveway or to park multiple vehicles, there might be restrictions that impede doing what you plan.
4. Entertaining Can Become Complicated
While it’s only in the most extreme of cases, parking for guests on your property is prohibited by your driveway easement. If you build a positive rapport with your neighbor, you can talk through conflicts for a holiday or birthday party. An invitation helps in these cases.
If you have limited parking and need to use more than your fair share regularly, this will become a problem that could damage your relationship with your neighbor.
A driveway is necessary to both neighbors for their comfort and convenience so if you prefer not to deal with neighbors, a shared driveway easement might not be worth the stress.
5. You Might Need To Talk to an Attorney
Whether it’s the cost or the stress of dealing with an attorney, they might be necessary when you’re dealing with a shared driveway easement. Work with a real estate attorney no matter what type of home you’re looking at, it might not be that much of an additional expense. It’s also valuable to have a professional look over the title.
Rather than run into disputes you can’t find an easy way to resolve, using an attorney ensures that you start every conversation from a basis of fact. Ask any real estate attorney you hire to include a review of easements in the fees they charge you.
A Shared Driveway Easement Requires Strategy
If you’re about to buy a home with a shared driveway easement, don’t let that factor into whether you decide on a potential dream home. However, if you’re unaware of what that means for you and your ability to use the driveway, you need to talk to your realtor about how that impacts your choice. An experienced local realtor will know all about laws regarding shared driveways and be able to guide you to the right decision.
Contact us today so we can pair you with a Clever Partner Agent who can ensure that you make the right decision when buying a home with a shared driveway.