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Seller Conveys Mineral Rights... Yes or No ?

I went on a listing yesterday.  Everything was going just fine.  My suggested pricing was accepted.  I also suggested that today's buyer... perhaps more than ever... might be in need of having some or all of their closing costs paid by the seller.  That was fine, too.

We walked through the home, and I made various suggestions about making the home more ready for showings.  I suggested thinning out the closets of items of clothing that the seller will not be wearing over the next four to six months.  I suggested that since she was not going to be wearing her winter clothes, and sooner or later she was going to have to pack them... she might as well pack them up for moving now... and make the closets look larger. 

All was going well... everything I suggested was being accepted... until my seller brought up the subject of "mineral rights." 

A large natural gas field has been discovered here in Fort Worth.  For the past year to eighteen months... much talk has taken place about signing over "royalty rigts" for the building lot people's homes are build on.  Many have done this, and most owners who put their homes up for sale... are insisting that they keep the mineral rights... and not convey them to the new buyer.

This... can cause problems... because most buyers who purchase... expect those same mineral rights to remain with the property.  They feel they are paying for the home... and want all the rights pertinent to the home... to convey with it.  It makes sense to me.

Of course... my seller wanted to retain her own mineral rights... and not convey them to the new buyers.  We chatted about it, with my suggesting that it would make the home more saleable if she, the seller, also conveyed her mineral rights along with her title.

She again insisted they not convey, and started becoming more than a tad belligerent.

So... I asked my seller if I could tell her a few stories.  Yes said... "sure !"

I asked her to pretend that she was going to be making an offer on her next home.  I suggested that we offer the seller an amount what was within 3% of the seller' asking price, and that the seller deliver posession within thirty days.  I suggested to her that the seller would probably accept an offer like that.  She seemed pleased.

I then asked her:   What if the seller... gave you everything you asked for in your offer... but was insisting on just one very simple thing? 

What if... the seller was absolutely insisting that... after she moved in... that the seller be able to retain his own key to her home... and whenever he happened to be in the neighborhood... he would be allowed to park his car... use his key... and walk in to her home and use her bathroom.

Her eyes opened wider than I had ever seen them.  She stammered, and then said... "What !  He wants to still be able to stop, use his own key, and walk into MY home and use MY bathroom ?  Why in the world would I agree to let him do that ?  It's my bathroom... and no... he cannot continue to use it.

I then asked her:  What was the difference between her seller continuing to use her bathroom after he no longer owned the home... and  her continuing to reap the royalties on the natural gas lease... under HIS home... after she sold him the house and he owned it ?

She sat silently.  At first she looked puzzled.  Then... slowly... a smile came to her face.  She said... "Well... no, he can't still use my bathroom... and ok, I get the point, I won't insist on keeping the mineral rights after I move."  She laughed... she told me I made my point... and she signed an addendum agreeing to convey the mineral rights to the new buyer.  Whew !

How do YOU handle the subject of both seller and buyer both wanting to retain mineral rights ?

Comment balloon 106 commentsKaren Anne Stone • April 14 2008 12:15PM
Seller Conveys Mineral Rights… Yes or No
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