A Guide to Water Rights in Real Estate Transactions

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Water is one of the world’s most valuable resources, so it’s only natural that water rights should be considered when making real estate transactions. Water rights cover the use of ground water, as well as streams, rivers, and lakes. In addition, water rights are required to be able to construct a structure such as a boat ramp or dock ramp over the body of water itself.

Water Rights in Eastern States

 

Typically, all states east of Texas with the exception of Mississippi follow the riparian doctrine for water rights. This doctrine was developed during the Spanish colonial period and incorporates elements of English common law. Under riparian water rights principles, landownership is expressly tied to water rights. A property owner can not legally sever the water rights for land from the property rights.

 

Essentially, riparian water rights permit anyone who owns land which faces a body of water to use the water from it. Riparian water rights allow the property owner unlimited usage of the water surrounding the land as long as the flow of water is not altered and the water itself is not contaminated, although rights can not be used for long term storage such as the formation of a reservoir. In the case of a navigable stream or river, the property line is considered to end at the water’s edge. The state retains rights to the land under the body of water and the waterway itself is considered a public highway.

 

Water Rights in Western States

 

Western states typically follow the prior appropriation doctrine when determining who has the legal right to use water on a particular piece of property. Prior appropriation is based on the principle of “first in time, first in right” to settle disagreements over ownership of water.

 

Beneficial use is a key principle under the prior appropriation doctrine. Examples of beneficial use include growing vegetables, supporting wildlife, enhancing area recreation opportunities, or commercial uses such as growing fish in hatcheries. Water usage must be reasonable, without waste, and approved by the appropriate state controlling agency in order to qualify.

 

Selling Water Rights

 

Water rights encompass the right to use ground water, streams, rivers, and lakes for recreation, farming, or commercial purposes. Depending upon where you live, water rights to a particular piece of land can be worth several thousand dollars to prospective buyers.

 

Western states that use the prior appropriation doctrine to determine water rights allow these rights to be sold separate from the property itself. For landowners with a significant acreage, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a real estate property attorney before selling water rights. Farmers may be tempted sell water rights when it seems they can make more money from giving up their rights than by growing crops. Since water rights have a sizable impact on future property values, however, this is a decision that requires careful consideration.

 

Many people find themselves wondering how water rights and mineral rights are related to real estate transactions. In most cases, water rights and mineral rights are considered to be separate entities. Property owners are legally allowed to sell mineral rights to a piece of land without selling the water rights. However, many speculators and energy firms ask to purchase water rights when buying the mineral rights to property. Landowners who have previously sold mineral rights should review their contracts carefully to make sure they still own the water rights for the property.

 

Buying Water Rights

 

When buying real estate, it is important to make sure water rights are transferred with the sale of the property. Transfer of water rights should be conveyed in the same manner as a normal property deed. In most states, once a property owner has established beneficial use of the water, he is not required to give up water rights with the sale of the property. For this reason, you must keep in mind that appropriators are not necessarily landowners located near the source of the water in question.

 

If a particular piece of property does not have water rights, the owner may be able to buy water rights from another property and have them transferred. However, the transfer of water rights for a different purpose or at a different location requires permission of state authorities and public notice of the intended transfer. If no individual files a formal protest of the transfer, state authorities can then choose to either approve or deny the application.

How to Buy Las Vegas HUD Homes

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Las Vegas, Nevada, commonly known as Sin City, is well known for having many foreclosed properties for sale. HUD buys some of these foreclosures because they were backed by FHA before going into default. This a big financial loss, so HUD needs to resell these homes to members of the public to get back that money. Those trying to scout out cheap homes in Vegas can find Las Vegas HUD home listings online through a government website. These potential buyers can then find what they are looking for and place bids to buy HUD homes in Las Vegas through a Vegas real estate broker approved for HUD bidding.

Step 1:

 

You can easily find these HUD foreclosures in Las Vegas by going to hudhomestore.com/HudHome/Index.aspx, which is a HUD-owned government website that lists HUD’s properties for every state. In this case, select Nevada and then Las Vegas to find the HUD Las Vegas homes in this area.

 

There is a wide range of houses for sale in this area, so you may also choose to narrow your search for Vegas properties by several other factors, including cost of the homes, size by number of rooms and other characteristics. You can choose those options with the search tools at the top of the Las Vegas HUD homes search results.

 

Step 2:

 

Only a Nevada real estate broker will be able to place HUD bids for the properties you seek to purchase. Thus, you need to go back to the same website’s home page and click on “Find a Broker” to get to the broker/agent listings. Select Las Vegas to find a broker in Sin City that can help you bid on HUD homes in Las Vegas.

 

Step 3:

 

Most HUD Las Vegas property buyers do not have the actual cash to buy a home. If you fall into this group, then you need to speak to Las Vegas mortgage brokers to get a home loan.

 

Step 4:

 

Once your finances are in order, ask your Las Vegas broker to go ahead and start sending in bids to HUD Las Vegas. You might be limited to one bid at a time, so have patience when trying to buy Las Vegas HUD properties.

 

Step 5:

 

When the agency approves your bid, it will send work to your broker. You will then have to submit a deposit and start preparations for paying for the home at the closing. This “closing” will be conducted by a Las Vegas closing agent approved by HUD for home closings.

 

Step 6:

 

The last major step in a real estate deal is to complete the proper local deed filing. In all areas (not just Las Vegas), you should obtain a deed from the seller and file it in the county of the property that you bought. In this case, take your deed from HUD and file it in the recording office of Clark County unless you buy a Las Vegas-area HUD home outside of that county.

 

Sources:

 

HUD Home Listings

How to Buy Atlanta HUD Homes

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Atlanta is a very popular place for seeking out cheap real estate. This area tends to have many foreclosed properties throughout the year, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) buys many of these houses at the local foreclosure auctions. HUD then sells them to average members of the Georgia public through a HUD bidding process. Buyers can use online resources to search for suitable Atlanta HUD homes. The buyers then hook up with an Atlanta real estate broker approved to submit bids to HUD on Georgia HUD properties.

Step 1:

 

HUD operates a website that lists data and even pictures of the HUD homes in Atlanta. You can access this home-listings government website at hudhomestore.com/HudHome/Index.aspx. Of course, you should look for the map and then select “Georgia” to get all listings for the state. You then pinpoint local homes by selecting “Atlanta” as the city.

 

Now, some HUD home buyers are owner occupants looking for a family home. Others are investors looking to make bucks off of flipping houses. Both buyer types may bid on HUD Atlanta homes, but investors are sometimes excluded from bidding on certain properties. To find the Atlanta properties open to investors, use the “buyer type” search option.

 

Step 2:

 

Atlanta has a slew of real estate brokers and agents. But you need one specifically approved by HUD to place bids on your behalf for HUD Atlanta properties. Select “Find a Broker” on HUD’s site (from the main page). Then, select Georgia or just Atlanta as the city to find local HUD brokers or agents.

 

Step 3:

 

If you need financing for a HUD Atlanta property, you will then need to speak to Atlanta banks or mortgage lenders about getting a loan. This is an important component of your HUD bid.

 

Step 4:

 

Get your Atlanta broker to go ahead and submit bids on the properties that you want. You might be limited to one bid at a time, so it could take a while to purchase an Atlanta HUD home.

 

Step 5:

 

Now, wait for HUD Atlanta officials to accept your bid. Once accepted, then a Georgia closing agent will be assigned to wrap up the sale. However, in the meantime, be aware that you will have to quickly pay a deposit and get ready to buy the house in full at the closing.

 

Step 6:

 

It is very important to protect your property interests in HUD homes in Atlanta once you have completed the sale. The way this is done is by getting a deed from HUD and then filing it in the county recorder’s office where the property is located. So if your property is in Fulton County, you would file there. Otherwise, you would file in DeKalb County or whichever other county your Atlanta-area home is located.

 

Sources:

 

HUD Home Listings