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You are a property owner, asked for an easement across your Maine real estate.

Not something you were laying awake nights contemplating right? Just like no one comes in to our Maine real estate office asking “got any property listings with wall to wall swamp, underwater.” Does not happen. Or asked if we have any Maine woodlot listings so cut over that a woodpecker would have to pack a lunch to fly, cross over one.

Wanting an easement for well water, for a driveway, septic system leachfield, and power line right of way for access to a landlocked property are the four biggies that come up. And the person wanting one, giving one both are after a figure. To know what is a fair price to make it happen. To fix the problem once and for all. Or at least limited to their ownership to give the property more utility, extra enjoyment, added property value.

The value of an easement is huge for the person needing it to enhance their Maine real estate property.

Because often there is no other option and the fellow granting the easement knows it. Could exploit it with the thoughts of a demanding a take it or leave it King’s ransom figure. But the fact remains the easement can be something you the property owner regret granting, conveying. And it hurts the value and enjoyment of the property it comes from that the other person neighboring it needs.

So when I get called, stopped on the street and asked what this or that kind of easement is worth I have to ask lots of questions. To see the other options that exist and ask the the list of “what if’s” for down the road. Letting the owner of the Maine property think beyond just their ownership. What can of worms it opens up for their kids in helping or hurting a real estate sale after the parents are dead and long gone.

To consider what if the neighbor who is nice as punch, all warm and fuzzy friendly sells, moves. And a new not so much fun neighbor slides into the neighborhood hot seat next to you. What does this do to the daily dog and pony of life? Is it still “good for you”?

Mutual, win win situations work the best in easement, right of way exchanges.

Had a earth moving company needing special clay for a fire pond for a local factory. And the exchange meant I got a sweet, way way larger Maine farm pond out of the “swap”. But that was a one time operation. All in, all done. Gone, finished quickly. Right of ways linger, hang on, for better or worse like the most important knot tying partnership until released. Or cause so much friction, that involving lawyers has to happen when they become battlefields. Things go bitterly sour.

But reaching out, finding three recent right of way easement grantings and the associated costs is not something that easily done.

They don’t come up that much in a rural state like Maine with less money, more space and fewer people to need them. And each easement exercise requires a case by case consideration of the use requirement and any, all limitations of the same. Plus the person and timing for the property owner who was minding their business. Had not thought of granting one. Or just had, finished up a major hassle, gut wrenching episode with wall to wall drama over one. Maybe extended, pocket emptying, expensive legal battles ensued. And now healing, licking wounds and just trying to avoid the up and down of court house steps.

But suddenly pressure exists for the owner of Maine property who is on the hot seat to provide an easement.

Think long and hard about whether you do or don’t and if you grant one. What is the value exchanged in money or goods, services for an easement. But from a Maine real estate broker’s view of an easement, granting one is not going to help the value, enjoyability of the property if is taken from in most cases. Does not enhance that property but adds a new wrinkle. Burdens, encumbers it in some new way. Would make life better for the other person needing your help. But may be a situation of “I’m sorry, but no” has to come from your lips, or the end of a pen. The thought everything has a price someone is willing to accept to let go of it or share it is not true. Not everyone does. Especially in Maine where arms are not twisted that easily. We have common sense, can see beyond the next twenty minutes. Of just trying to be a good fellow and helping someone out.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker