What do you think of this property's road access...yay or neigh??

Hey all,

I have a verbal offer accepted on a large acreage property. There are some solid comps in the area of recently sold and currently pending properties. What I'm trying to figure out and decide is, is there sufficient road access so as to not hinder the resale/appeal/value of the property on the back end? I am attaching several screenshots, would love your all's input. Some context is as follows:

  • the red circle shows which road the owner is claiming where the access point is: "Dobbins Park Trail." He's actually the one that named the road years ago and it is clearly officially recorded with the county, as it shows up as that name on any map source.
  • the yellow highlighted area is the unpaved access that actually gets you from what seems to be the official end of Dobbins Park Trail to the beginning of the property line itself. As you can see, there is I believe one parcel that is technically between the end of the formal ending of Dobbins Park Trail and where subject property begins. However, again recall that the owner is the one that actually named this road in the first place, and his property's address is officially a "Dobbins Park Trail" address.
  • I think it is pretty clear that there is definitely some sort of "road/path" system that runs to (and through, if you were to zoom out) the subject property...now, it may be quite overgrown after years of it not being maintained, but it sure seems to be there. Is this still an official extension of Dobbins Park Trail?? I don't know.
  • He actually in the past drove up an RV camper into the middle of his property via this road...in fact, it's still there. So obviously, it was pretty dang accessible.

So my question ultimately is - does this look like there is enough access for it to be considered an accessible property? Another way to put it would be - is there enough access to not consider this property landlocked? Because if it IS ultimately deemed landlocked, then obviously that is a huge hit on the value. I have the accepted price at a solid enough price where the theoretical margin is still good, but percentage-wise it is way higher than what most would pay. Hence just trying to gather some insight. Would greatly appreciate any insight y'all can offer!


I would try to dig up any sort of road easement document (if one exists). If you can't find one, I would contact the owner of the parcel you have to cross and make sure you have an easement agreement in writing. That way you could be sure you would have access. Honestly, the guy's story sounds somewhat sketchy. My personal opinion is: Never trust fences for property lines and never trust some old guy saying "that's how I've always done X" . lol! But that's just me.


diggong up any sort of paperwork on the easements I think definitely makes sense. Do you think there’d be something on his deed, or do you think it would have to be the owner of the other parcel? Might be a tough one to track down. Let me ask - regarding his story being sketch: would your assessment of his story (I’m assuming it’s regarding him naming the road) change a bit if I were to tell you that his last name is in fact Dobbins? They’ve owned that property for I think close to 30 years now, live out of state. And I can verify at least via google earth that there is in fact a covered carport type of structure right by an old pond, exactly as he described the structure that the RV is resting under.


The easement (if it exists) should show up on a title report for either parcel-- I don't think it would show up on a deed. Did he mention more details about putting the road in? Like, if the neighbors were involved or anything like that? Maybe a family member owned the adjacent parcel and that's why he was allowed to put the road across it? I guess when I say sketchy, I don't mean it's not believable. It sounds totally believable, it's just a matter of if it was done properly or was it just some handshake agreement between neighbors? I'm sure he is the one who put the road in, but was it officially documented and agreed upon as an easement that will transfer to the next person (possibly you) is the main question you will want to answer.


Ok gotcha, that makes sense. It definitely gives me some specific questions to be asking him for sure. Regarding the easement - I still get pretty confused between “easement” and “right of way.” In this context, what makes it an easement that I’m looking for, rather than a right of way?

And let’s assume everything is recorded as needed - end of day, based on the pictures, would you say that is enough road access to not diminish the property’s value, in your opinion?

Hey Kristen,

For me, it would all depend on the price. How cheap are you getting it? If that road is at least accessable with 4x4 then I would go for it (if you are buying at 20% market value).

You could also call the county and get a plat.. the road should show up on a plat, if there is access. Another thing is call county recorder and check on easement as mentioned before.

In my opinion, people buying a large chunk of wooded land want privacy, hunting, outdoors etc and love a wooded lane.

Now, if this is a high dollar property, I would get someone local to go out and put eyes on it for you, what shape it is in, etc.


All good thoughts for sure. I’ve got some calling around to do this week, namely with the county. Going to see if I can get clarity on any sort of deeded/recorded access or right of way, etc

And I also agree that this would be prime hunting land, so the ATV access would be great. However, it’s still a potential issue if that path is encroaching onto another property. He also did inform me today that there is in fact a gate right at the beginning of the access point, at the bottom of the pictures that i attached. He said it’s never been closed, but unfortunately, he doesn’t know who installed it - so that’s another potential obstacle.

@Tae_Cho and @jawollbrink

In my experience, the right-of-way is the road itself. The easement is the agreement that allows someone who doesn't own the right-of-way to use it. There are also agreements called Road Use Permits which, generally, are a short-term agreements that allow for use of the road for certain purposes or a certain period of time. Does that make sense? I work in Washington State, so I can't say if the terminology is the same everywhere. I would say it's enough road as long as you can prove that whoever owns the parcel you are looking to buy has legal use of the road. It clearly crosses another landowner's parcel. The fact that there is a gate at the beginning of the road is also problematic. Whoever owns that gate can close and lock it at anytime and if you can't prove you have legal access, you're screwed (or forced to trespass). I hope that helps!



Good news is, after several calls and various files I received from the county this week, I have in fact verified there is deeded access to this road/easement. Very good news. Which also means this road legally can not be blocked, gate or otherwise (which I believe is actually a non-issue from what I can gather from a phone convo I had with a nearby shop owner). The road may be pretty overgrown though. I’ve never done this for any of my previous land purchases, but I’m actually hitting the road before sunrise tomorrow to make the 3 hour round trip to look at the condition of the road with my own eyes. I’m going to buy it regardless now that I know there is legitimate deeded access. But this trip will help me determine if worst case, I need to hire a surveyor to mark out the road and then hire a brush hogger/land clearer to open it up a bit. It would then have its full value completely restored. We’ll see what happens - appreciate the input!

@Tae_Cho Awesome! I'm so glad you have legal access. Happy to give my two cents. How was your trip? What did the road look like?


I ended up making two trips out there, one yesterday morning and one again this morning, because of my own dumb error on the first trip. Anyway, this second trip was very successful in that I was definitely able to find said road access. We were able to walk to and through the property - aka hike a mile unexpectedly over rough and poison ivy riddled terrain. The main issue was - there is no way any sort of truck can get through there with the condition of the road right now, and I’m not sure how many ATV type of vehicles can really get through the whole way to the property. Some spots are definitely possible, but a good chunk of it is either filled with giant ditches from erosion, or just straight up too muddy/overgrown, or even some places where the surface is giant boulders with very slick surfaces. It needs a lot of work. So I called and asked him if he would consider a reduction on price, and he was kindly unwilling. We parted ways amicably with the possibility still left open to do business down the road - either he considers a price rejection or I still buy at the price. Not sure how I will proceed, if I can still buy it at the original price and I’m just being overly cautious or not. You can see in the pics the wide range of condition along the way. Looks worse in person, can assure you

@Tae_Cho It looks pretty rough! Glad you were able to take a look in person so you can know what you would be dealing with.

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@Tae_Cho What are you going to do now?

I'll be happy to have a look at the cost of putting improvements into the road for you. I've built roads over much much worse. That doesn't worry me much.

Otherwise, you interested in passing the details along on the property if you're not interested?


I’m still deciding right now. I may still want to buy it, I’ve built up good relationship with the seller and I think he’s still at least considering a potential price reduction. I’m still trying to decide if I want to just buy it at our original price. I’d be curious to see how much a gravel road would cost to be put in. I have a rough range in mind but we can talk more offline. I’ll message you.

@Tae_Cho Understood. I've followed you now so we can chat offline.


I have owned two parcels in New York and in the process of buying one in Florida currently. The way I handled each is as follows: The first one I negotiated with the land owner to sell me a ROW at a reasonable price and then had a surveyor draw up a map and filed it.

The next one was on 150 acres that I owned for several years. The land owner gave me a ROW to build a power line into the property and maintain at no cost. It was straight into the property and did not follow the road that I built when a previous owner owned the property. At the time I did not pursue getting a ROW as it was a friends hand shake 30+ years ago. Also I built a gate with a lock and there never was a reason to obtain one. Then a neighbor 2 on the other side of my land sued both the new owner and I for ROW, I figured I would spend the value of the land to object so I went to the neighbor 2 and made an agreement that the road would run along my property line and he would be responsible for the cost of building and maintaining the road. Also I could have access to the road. The problem arises when neighbor 1 objected when #2 took it to court, it seems that neighbor 2 did something years ago to upset neighbor 1. So we all went to court, I did not have a lawyer because I had an agreement. In New York there is this antiquated law about ROW by necessity. The law stated that you would file with the Town Highway Superintendent (it was a small town in the middle of nowhere) then he would draw a jury of 12 and we went to court. The jury was the judge and jury. The problem grew when neighbor 2 hired an attorney that talked big but had no idea what he was doing. Neighbor 1's attorney was quite polished, and proceeded to attack neighbor 2's character and nothing about the necessity, with neighbor 2's attorney not objecting. You see neighbor 2's attorney wanted to change the law. As you might imagine the 12 jurors made the decision and they all hated neighbor 2 by this time and ruled against neighbor 2. So neighbor 2's lawyer took the case to appeal and the judge through it out of his court.

Now a few years latter I decided to sell my land. I went to neighbor 1 and tried to negotiate the ROW, well this did not go so well for me. It seems the last case left a bad taste in his mouth and he was afraid that I might give ROW to neighbor 2 although I assured him we could put in the agreement that neighbor 2 could not use the ROW and he felt that he could win another court case. Well a few years passed and I still accessed my land but I wanted to sell. I decide to proceed with the case as I knew all the things that #2's lawyer did wrong (well I thought I did). So after talking to several lawyers I made a deal with an experienced one. We started into the case and I sensed that neighbor 1 might be having some financial problems. So I had my lawyer drag the case out, my total legal fee was $4,000. Now at this time I was talking to people about the sale and I had some Amish friends that were interested in the land and weren't as concerned about the ROW. I told them to go and talk to #1 and I heard that he was not real happy that he may have Amish neighbors. In the meantime neighbor 2 sold his land to neighbor 3 that also owned landlocked land on the other side of #2. Neighbor 3 went to #1 and made a deal (I don't know what the deal was but #3 was a pretty crafty used car salesman). Then he came to me and paid me my price.

Now I would not recommend that anybody try to replicate this but it was an interesting experience. Oh by the way I had a billboard on the property that I sold to a large billboard company for more than I ever got for any of my other boards and their lawyer was the same guy as #1's and I kept the mineral rights.

Now on to the Florida property. This property I have 8 different owners that I can look to for access and one is the city it is located. I guess I just like a little excitement in my life.