So, you found your dream home! You signed the purchase and sale agreement. The earnest money is in escrow. Ten days later, the title insurance commitment arrives – twenty-three pages of legalese.

Who has time to read that? You have moving boxes to think about! The kids are enrolled in school, your spouse is happy, and your fellow telecommuters are jealous. When a competing urbanite expresses interest in the parcel, you breathe easy knowing it is “your place.”

You close the sale. You have arrived! 

About that quirky road. You remember the real estate agent saying no one uses it. You decide it needs a fence anyway! While the company is installing the new fence, a man in a pickup truck pounds on your door and hands you an envelope. Inside are legal documents and an official-looking letter.

The letter says you can’t build a fence across the road, that you will block access to the man’s hunting camp located a few miles up that “quirky road.” Hunting camp? Really? Do people still hunt! Strangers with guns and dead animals crossing your property? What??

Wait. You remember the title insurance papers you received with twenty-three pages of legalese. You dig them out and call the insurance company. The broker stuns you when he says your title insurance will not bar the hunter’s access to that the quirky road. In fact, the hunter has a recorded easement allowing him access to his hunting land. Further, because the easement is a matter of public record, you were apprised of it when you received the twenty-three pages of legalese before you closed. The man in the pickup truck is merely exercising his right to access his land.

You take a breath. You can handle this. You are an otherwise successful, intelligent person who owns a home – with an easement! What’s an easement?? What does it mean to you and your spouse and your chicken coop and your home office and your jealous co-telecommuters? 

The moral of this story is that buying land in the Country is not the same as buying land in the city. What can you do? The solution to this and other legal problems depends on the application of the “law” to unique fact patterns. Once you sign a contract to buy land, you have a more limited range of legal options than you did before you signed, but you still have more options than you will have once you’ve closed on the property.

When purchasing land in the Country, contact a qualified land attorney to maintain the luster of that dream home.