Mineral Rights: They Can't Sell What They Don't Own

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I am buying a home, but the contract said they wont sell the oil rights, what does this means? should I buy

That was J Paul Getty's great contribution to real estate, and why he got so rich. He retained the mineral rights on every parcel he sold, and it has become standard practice in the industry nationwide, if not worldwide, with respect to most property. Such rights typically pass without any rights of ingress (meaning they can't enter your property), but it typically isn't difficult for the holders to buy rights of ingress from someone in the area. This means they can't sink a mine shaft on your property unless you sell them the rights to do so. It is to to be noted that you're not likely to be real happy if one of your neighbors sells them access, either, but you can't control that directly. Zoning boards and conditional use permits and all of that, not to mention the courts. I'm neither a lawyer nor any kind of elected official so I am not going there.

Odds are that the person selling you the property does not, themselves, own the mineral rights. Most developers have bought the property without mineral rights attached, or if they did buy them, they have most likely long since sold them to some speculator. Even if you buy from a developer, they probably don't own the mineral rights any more, let alone the property's post developer homeowners, who didn't buy them in the first place. Since they can't sell what they don't own, that's what the contract is going to say, period. If you want a parcel with mineral rights, look elsewhere. If you want a place to live, all it means is that the chances of you getting a mineral windfall change from remote to zero.

Caveat Emptor

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on October 28, 2007 7:00 AM.

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