No floodplain does not equal no drainage or flowage easement. And, because you cannot build in these easements, they can be a deal killer – it was for us up near Granger Lake. Found out how to make sure you’re in the clear before buying property.
What in the world are drainage or flowage easements? There are many areas throughout central Texas that are nearby man-made reservoirs. Now, when purchasing a property near a reservoir, you might think that you’re in the clear if there is no floodplain on your property. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth because, in fact, there could be a flowage or drainage easement encumbering your property. These are easements that are granted to the Army Corps of Engineers that allows them to drain a reservoir if the water levels get too high due to excessive rain, for example.
We were actually looking at purchasing a property in Williamson county that was next to Granger Lake. However, it did not have floodplain, so we thought we were in the clear. Once we received the title commitment from the title company, we found that there was a flowage easement that was encumbering a vast majority of the property. Unfortunately, you can’t build a single structure on these easements where the easements lie on the property. You can’t even build a home, a barn, anything because it will obstruct the flow of water for this drainage easement in the event that they have to drain the reservoir. Unfortunately, this was a deal killer for us and we couldn’t move forward with the purchase of the property.
The easiest way to find out if there is a drainage or flowage easement on the property is, sometimes, by asking the land owner. Unfortunately, in most cases, landowners don’t even know that their properties are encumbered by these drainage easements and it severely impacts the value. But, the best way to find out is to get a title commitment. We’ve said this in multiple videos in the past. Always, always work with a credible title company. Make sure you get a title commitment when purchasing any piece of land. Any easements that are encumbering land will be shown on the Schedule B items on a title commitment.
Feel free to reach out to us with questions or other topics you’d like to see covered.
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