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(37,305 posts)
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:08 PM Oct 2013

U.S. builders hoard mineral rights under new homes

Special Report: U.S. builders hoard mineral rights under new homes
By Michelle Conlin and Brian Grow
NAPLES, FLORIDA | Wed Oct 9, 2013 6:14am EDT

NAPLES, Florida (Reuters) - Robert and Julie Davidson fell hard for the gleaming new house at the Valencia Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida. They loved the way the palm-fringed, Spanish-style home backed up to the fifth-hole fairway. And they were taken with the three-bedroom's high ceilings and open plan. Plus the neighborhood - with its power-washed driveways, blooming hibiscus and guarded gatehouse - seemed all "dressed up."

But when the Davidsons paid $255,385 in 2011 for the house on Birdie Drive, they didn't know that they had, in essence, bought only from the ground up, and that their homebuilder, D.R. Horton, had kept everything underneath.

"Wait a second, wait a second," Robert Davidson said after a reporter told him that a search of county records showed that D.R. Horton still owned the oil, natural gas, water and other natural resources beneath his and his neighbors' homes. "Let me sit down a minute here. They have the mineral rights to the land I'm on?"


AZ Mike

(468 posts)
1. Woah! That's devious!
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:11 PM
Oct 2013

But, I wonder how this would ultimately hold up in the courts.

Real estate is the purchase of unimproved or improved LAND. Improved land only means that a structure is built on it (e.g., a home, a building, etc....). When you contract real estate, you are buying the land - the house is merely an "improvement" to the land. This seems like an inherent conflict within the contract.



(482 posts)
3. It is clearly listed on the deed when they bought the land they did not own the mineral rights..
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:18 PM
Oct 2013

These things are not hidden..



(482 posts)
2. This is nothing new and no real big deal
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:17 PM
Oct 2013

Our farm which we purchased in 1995 had the coal and mineral right sold off in the early 1900's..

95% of the land in my area the owners do not own the mineral rights..been that way for 100+ years

We do own the gas rights and when we sell the property we are keeping the gas rights..


(145,866 posts)
4. Did they not read the closing documents?
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:18 PM
Oct 2013

Did they not read any of it?

Sorry. This is very common, and is always disclosed. It is a negotiating point, unless you are buying into a condominium development, in which case it will be take it or leave it.

People are stupid about real estate investments. They sign stacks of papers without even a glance. It is a puzzlement.

uncle ray

(3,139 posts)
6. no doubt, it's a surprise for folks in the East.
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:31 PM
Oct 2013

yes, in the Western states and other regions it's well known that when you buy land, you are not likely to get any mineral or water rights, and the only way it's negotiable is if you are buying a large tract of land. try to secure mineral rights when you buy your 1/4 acre lot from a big builder, not gonna happen.


(2,883 posts)
5. Split estates are very common in the west
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:27 PM
Oct 2013

I remember as a kid in the 70's, my parents not purchasing a property they wanted because it didn't include the mineral rights. Here in NM, you have to be concerned not only with mineral rights but with water rights as well.


(34,266 posts)
7. I am in the middle of the Utica shale boom, that is not uncommon around here. Some land owners found
Thu Oct 10, 2013, 01:07 PM
Oct 2013

out all their mineral rights were sold off a hundred years ago, they couldn't get anything. The former owners of my property sold off certain veins of
coal only so I was able to lease gas rights. Then others sold off their gas rights forever for as little as $20 an acre ten years ago, nobody knew how valuable
the gas was back then. I signed a 5 year lease on my property almost 2 years ago for $5000 an acre, I don't think they will drill before the 5 years is up.
Right now they are working like crazy building the infrastructure to process and transport the gas before they drill. I went to a town meeting last night about
a 30 " pipeline and compressor station they are going to build here. Like I said me and my neighbors that had gas rights got $5000 an acre almost two
years ago. The leases have gone up since then our county just signed a lease on their 400 acres for $7500 an acre.

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