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Define Severance in Real Estate


Severance, in the context of real estate, is the process of dividing a piece of land from a larger property to create a new, smaller property. It's like taking a big piece of land and splitting it into two separate parts, each with its own legal description and ownership. Severance in real estate can have another meaning, which relates to the conversion of real property to personal property. (see "Deep Dive" below for examples)


Imagine you own a large piece of land with 50 acres. You decide that you want to sell 10 acres of that land to someone else, maybe because they want to build a house on it. To do this, you would go through the process of severance. This would involve getting permission from local authorities, following zoning regulations, and creating a new legal description for the separated 10 acres. Once the severance is complete, you would have one piece of land with 40 acres and another, separate piece with 10 acres, each with its own legal ownership.

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"A Deep Dive for Real Estate Agents and Appraisers"

A few more important points to keep in mind:

Local regulations: The process of severance often requires approval from local authorities, such as a planning commission or zoning board. Each jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements in your area.

Zoning and land use: When severing a piece of land, you must ensure that the resulting parcels conform to local zoning and land use regulations. This may affect the size, shape, and permissible uses of the new properties.

Surveying and legal descriptions: A professional surveyor is typically required to establish the new property boundaries and create a legal description for the severed land. This ensures that the new properties are accurately documented and registered.

Access and utilities: When dividing a property, it's important to consider access and utility connections for the new parcels. You may need to provide or negotiate easements for road access, water, sewer, or other utilities.

Taxes and assessments: Severing a piece of land can have tax implications for both the original property owner and the new property owner. Be prepared for possible changes in property taxes and assessments as a result of the severance.

Impact on property value: Severing a piece of land can impact the value of the remaining property. Depending on the size, location, and use of the new parcels, the value of the original property may increase or decrease.

By understanding the key factors and potential implications of severance in real estate, you'll be better prepared to navigate the process and advise your clients accordingly.

Note: Severance in real estate can have another meaning, which relates to the conversion of real property to personal property. This occurs when an item that was once permanently attached to the land is detached and becomes a separate, movable item. This process is also referred to as "severance."

Here are a few more real-world examples of severance in the context of converting real property to personal property:

Light fixtures: A homeowner decides to replace a chandelier that is permanently affixed to the ceiling. When the chandelier is removed from the ceiling, it is no longer considered a part of the real property and becomes personal property. The homeowner can then take the chandelier with them if they decide to move.

Built-in appliances: A kitchen has a built-in dishwasher that is installed within the cabinetry. If the homeowner decides to remove the dishwasher and replace it with a freestanding unit, the removed dishwasher is no longer considered real property and becomes personal property.

Fencing: A property owner has a metal fence installed around their property. If they decide to remove a section of the fence to create a new entrance, the removed fence panels become personal property, as they are no longer permanently affixed to the land.

Custom-built cabinetry: A homeowner has custom-built bookshelves permanently attached to the walls of their living room. If they choose to remove the bookshelves during a renovation, the bookshelves become personal property since they are no longer a fixed part of the real property.

In each of these examples, the process of severance involves detaching an item that was once permanently affixed to the land or a structure, converting it from real property to personal property.

It's important to understand both meanings of severance in real estate, as they can have different implications for property owners and agents.
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"Wit & Whimsy with the Dumb Ox: Unlocking Knowledge with Rhyme:"

In the land where properties lay,
Severance is a term you may say.
A big piece of land, we must divide,
Creating smaller parts, side by side.

A farmer had land, fifty acres wide,
But ten he wished to sell, he decided.
So he sought to split it, to make it clear,
Which part he'd keep and which he'd endear.

With zoning rules and permissions in hand,
He carved out ten acres from his grand land.
Two properties now, one large, one small,
Separated and distinct, standing tall.

So when land's divided, remember it's true,
Severance is the term, for this process, we construe!

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