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The Real Property Advocate

A Sherwood Realty Publication February 2001

By Paul Sherwood / Broker

What is the bundle of rights?

Real Estate Ownership in the USA includes this "bundle".

The rights included are: The right of peaceful enjoyment, the right to sell, the right to pass it on through inheritance or devise (gift), the right to issue qualified fee title and/or use restrictions on deeds, the rights of use, possession, control, exclusion and disposition. The bundle is wrapped in laws protecting real property interests.

Limitations to these rights are: Police Power - a catchall term for planning, zoning, building inspections, subdivision regulations, housing codes, ordinances and statutes (Without compensation for diminished property values). Eminent Domain - the ability of government to "take" (with compensation) real property for the greater good. Taxation - the ability of state and local governments to charge real property owners for services such as schools, police, fire, libraries, parks and welfare programs. And their ability to "take" (without compensation) the real estate as forfeiture for nonpayment. Escheat - the reversion of real property to the state when the owner dies without lawful heirs. Liens - mortgages, mechanic/supplier liens, income tax liens, judgement liens, Easements - the right or privilege to use the land of another for purposes such as party driveways, ingress, egress, drainage or utilities. Deed Restrictions - the ability of a seller to restrict future use by purchaser, such as a minimum square footage requirement for any home constructed in a subdivision.. Adverse Possession - is a throwback to British common law when castles were common.. If you can take it over for 15 years, you own it. Type of Estate enjoyed - Fee simple absolute is the highest form of ownership and is used commonly in purchases today. More limited are qualified fee, life estates, remainder interests, leasehold estates, concurrent ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common. Buyers should take more time to consider the way in which they take title.

Why should you care? If you have this bundle of rights, don't you want to protect it? Think about it. In the past 5 years there have been a number of laws, at the local, county, state and federal levels, restricting the sale and/or ownership of real estate and they were put upon the owners without a whimper. I call it the "there ought to be a law" syndrome. Beware of good intentions. Padlock laws and housing code revisions with their unrealistic time tables, are said to target "slum lords" (when actually it's the hard working, responsible landlords and the poor owners that are hurt the most). Property tax increases for schools, and other good causes hurt mostly the poor, elderly and the infirm. In 1998 the reversion period for non payment of property taxes was shortened in Kent County. Smoke detector ordinances, lead base paint disclosure forms, Sellers (condition) disclosure forms, Point of sale sidewalk inspections. When will it end? At this rate We will need a year and a wheelbarrow full of papers to close every real estate transaction in the year 2010!. Job security is guaranteed for real estate brokers and attorneys. Please, just say no to the next proposal!

Fed Lowers short term rates

Mortgage rates are sure to follow maybe summer 2001. Now is the time to start shopping to beat the inevitable price push that this will create. It may be a good time to sell a property. E-mail me today, paulsherwood@grar.com or call me at 241-0554, ext 15. Please visit my web site at www.PaulSherwood.com

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