What Does the Home Seller Have to Disclose?

[Note to Readers: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.]

It comes up rarely enough that even a former attorney (I am) needs a little back stopping from Edina Realty’s legal department.

The question: what kind of easements do home sellers have to disclose to prospective buyers?

That is, assuming they’re aware of them.

As far as home transactions are concerned, there are essentially two types: 1) an easement that lets a homeowner use part of their neighbor’s property; and 2) the converse, i..e, an easement that lets your neighbor use part of your property.

In practice, the most common type of situation is an easement that allows someone to cross their neighbor’s property to access their garage.

sticksLegal Arcana

So, which type of easement needs to be disclosed on the Minnesota Seller’s Disclosure?

Only the latter kind, because it acts as a diminution of the homeowner’s property rights

By contrast, the former kind is a benefit.

P.S.: In law school, property rights are commonly taught as “a bundle of sticks” (“the right to use and occupy,” “the right to bequeath,” “the right to lease,” etc.)

An easement serves as a limitation on one of those sticks ” specifically, the right to exclude.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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