Do You Own Property? Familiarize Yourself With Mineral Rights

2 March 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog

Most homeowners do not know much about mineral rights, but you may someday find yourself being contacted by a company asking to purchase them for your property. With gas and domestic oil being so valuable, selling the mineral rights of your property may seem like a great way to make extra money. However, before you sign away those mineral rights, know the following three things.

Know What Part of the Property Would Need to Be Used for Drilling

An issue that often comes up is incorrectly assuming the contract only allows for a company to drill using a small section of the property. This is not always true, since selling mineral rights will often require access to more areas of the property for related purposes. For example, equipment needs a place to stay, offices need to be set up, and even access roads need to be built if the area is uninhabited. The latter can even require removing trees to get access to the drilling area.

Know how your property will be affected, and don't sign away your mineral rights if you are not comfortable with the consequences.

Research If Someone Else Already Owns the Mineral Rights

It is possible that another person actually owns the mineral rights to the land that you have already purchased. The mineral rights could go unused for decades before the owner decides they want to start drilling.

Performing a title search only tells you who has the rights to the land surface, not the minerals underneath it. Performing a detailed search on the history of the mineral rights will cost you money, but is worth doing in areas of the country that are known for lots of drilling due to the natural resources.

Find Out Which Mineral Rights You Can Legally Sell

If you do discover that a previous owner sold the mineral rights to the property, you may not be completely out of luck. It's possible that they only sold the rights for collecting oil or gas. When only the rights to one natural resource are sold, you have the ability to sell rights for other minerals.

The best way to make sure that everything you're doing is within your legal rights as a property owner is to work with a real estate lawyer, such as Tupper & Adams. They know how to discover who holds the mineral rights to your property and help you with selling them to someone else.