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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Franklin County
Re: Royalties on $2.95 Nat Gas
Real Estate is sold in "fee". A Fee Simple Title (dded) is one that transfers the property to a new owner with all rights of ownership. "Simple" - in this context means nothing removed.
Fee can be explained in several ways. Think of any property being reduced to a bundle of sticks. Each stick represents the various aspects of property ownership:
One stick is the water rights.
One stick is the trespass or easement right.
One stick are the gas rights,
One stick the coal rights
One stick the air rights - think condo's. A condo is a owned apartment - thus real estate. They sold the air rights over property to create a fee simple property...
So on and so forth.
Each of these rights can be sold off permanently of for a defined time period. All of these sales of "rights" need be recorded in a deed and recorded in the land records of the local government.
To find out if a property has all the rights "fee" or some have been sold a title search (deed search) needs to be done. It is important that the title on the property be searched back to the very beginning of the land grant if possible. That land grant would read something like" I King Richard do grant and convey to..". Very uncommon to find records all the way back like that, but it does happen.
A title search takes a week or so to do. A attorney practicing real estate law (settlements and the such) will have staff to do these searches. You can also contact abstract companies as they contract to do this work. They are both listed in the yellow pages.
Not sure of the cost involved in this. If the land records are in good order at the court house, it is a matter of going from one deer to the previous one listed. The problem comes in when land is combined and then split, or where there are multiple owners and the deed takes two different courses. It gets further complicated when a property owner dies and the land is sold on the court house steps with a sheriff's note (also for non-payment of taxes).
You can go tot he court house and do your own abstact. Actually interesting to do. If you are a history buff - very interesting! However, if you are looking to have legally reliable information - have a professional do the title search.
Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.