Right of Way through the property- buyer should be concerned ?

Asked by Samantha, Winchester, MA Fri Mar 22, 2013

I happen to see a property in Winchester which has a right of way along its property (has a driveway to a big house located behind). Although the big house has one more access way/driveway from the other end of road and the listing agent told me that right of way is rarely used, I am concerned that this might impact the resale of property. Honestly I too don't know what problems might come in future becos of ROW. Or Am I crying over nothing ? Can anyone give insight into it ?

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Louis Wolfson’s answer
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Fri Mar 22, 2013

If the right of way is solely for the use of the house at the rear and has no impact on your enjoyment of your home and the property then the answer would be no. Although it is used infrequently it could be used full time and you have no recourse.

Could it affect the resale of the home, depends on many factors, most have to do with what I state above and the value of your home in the market presently, as the present value could be higher without the easement and is priced accordingly.

1 vote
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Sun Mar 24, 2013
1) Get yourself an exclusive buyer's agent, someone who does not and will not represent the seller in your purchase. This way you will get full attention and unbiased answers to questions like these. The more educated you are about the market and the property your are considering to purchase, the smarter choices you will make;

2) If the right of way is simply a driveway to another home that shouldn't impact your use of the home of interest. However, there are a few questions you should ask about the ROW, for instance, does the driveway cut up your yard in any way? Who is in charge of maintenance of the driveway (shared cost or paid by other home owner)?

Easements and ROW's are not uncommon so don't drop the property from your list until you have answered all the necessary questions.

Here is every property on the market in Winchester:

Massachusetts Premier Buyer Brokerage
617 848 5407 x701
Web Reference:  http://territory.com
1 vote
Scott A. Nel…, , 02155
Fri Mar 22, 2013
Well as far as resale goes, the same questions you have will be a topic future buyers will also have. I don't know the layout of the land but you might look at what it would mean if you had to use your full driveway for a party, oversized vehicle etc. As Robert Frost wrote, "Good fences make good neighbors". You'll need to have your attorney review the right of way and explain to you exactly what you would be agreeing to legally, what your rights and responsibilites would be. Everything could go smoothly, until they don't. Property line/rights of way/easments are a common source of discourse between neighbors. If this is the property for you, consult with your buyers agent and attorney, it would be worth the extra expense of title insurance with an instrument survey addition to know absolutely where everything lies. You'll have to get title insurance for the lender if you're using a mortgage but a personal policy is a one time expense and can save you thousands in the case of a legal dispute between the properties. Don't rely solely upon what the town has recorded as a "plot plan". Often times there's a disclaimer on these that they are not a substitute for a proper plot survey. Chances are one was done in the past for the right of way but there's no guarantee that there was one or the records are still available. Things do sometimes go missing. Having a proper legal and accurate description and what it means to you is important and one that will be important when resale is considered.

Let us know how you make out,
0 votes
Terri and Pa…, Agent, Bonsall, CA
Fri Mar 22, 2013
Have your agent research the title to see if it is a recorded easement. You should be concerned... any burden on the title of a home that you purchase could affect the resale value. It is impossible to say if this one will without knowing more. The fact that historically the right of way has been seldom used has no bearing. Do not let the person that made light of the right of way represent you. The advise they gave you is not good advise.
0 votes
Wen Farina, Agent, Reading, MA
Fri Mar 22, 2013
Hi Samantha,

the right of way on the driveway and whether or not is an issue really depends on the potential buyer. If this one rarely gets used then it really is up to you and if you are getting it at a good fair price. Ask your buyers' agent that is representing you for his/her opinion (if you do not have one you should get one and it does not cost you anything). Some people care about a row and others don't so you will need to decide if it will be annoying for you to see someone using it every now and then. Have you seen other houses that you may be interested in without a row?. Also have your agent do a cma to determine value and make adjustments as needed for the row. This might be help you in making a decission. Hope this helps. Wen -- wen@wenrealty.com
Web Reference:  http://wenrealty.com
0 votes
Josh Barnett, Agent, Chandler, OK
Fri Mar 22, 2013
You are not crying over nothing, tell the Realtor that you want the Seller to sell you the right-of-way (on the other home) if you are truly interested in this home.

If you can find another home w/o this issue, go buy another home.
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