Access is critical to home-buying decisions | Just Ask Jan

Dear Jan: The home we are looking at has the driveway in to it as well as a little roadway behind it to other homes. We were told we would not be able to use that road to get to our backyard. Why would that be?

Dear Jan: The home we are looking at has the driveway in to it as well as a little roadway behind it to other homes. We were told we would not be able to use that road to get to our backyard. Why would that be?  
— SN

Dear SN:
I am glad you discovered early in your home-buying process that ingress and egress are very important for most directions to/from your prospective home.

When buying, you need to know that you have legal access to your property.  In cities, that is pretty easy to determine. But when you are buying in the country, it gets harder. Properties that are not on the main roadway need to have a recorded easement for ingress/egress. So it is my guess that the home you are looking at has a recorded easement to the front of the property but no recorded easement to the road behind the home.

Your real estate broker should be able to contact the title company and ask for a copy of the preliminary title report to see if there are any recorded easements. If you are otherwise happy with the home, you might try contacting the person that actually owns the roadway and see if they would sell you a right to use the property. Hope that helps.

— Jan Zufelt is an agent with John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston.