Mineral Rights: What You Need to Know

If you are interested in purchasing a plot of land, especially if this plot of land resides in Texas or any other state that is a mecca for mineral extraction, it is likely you have at least heard the words “mineral rights” being used in conversation. Below these rights are defined, discussed, and examined in further detail. 

What are Mineral Rights?

Mineral rights provided legal ownership to the resources and materials found under the earth’s surface on a particular plot of land. In the United States, surface rights and mineral rights are separated from one another. This legal distinction grants the surface and mineral rights land owners separate powers. If an individual owns the surface of a plot of land they are entitled to dig the surface of the land for development. 

However, this land owner does not own the materials found under the earth’s surface unless they own the mineral rights to this plot of land. Purchasing and owning the mineral rights to this plot of land will grant the owner the ability to extract and own the natural resources found below the earth’s surface.

Owning Below the Land’s Surface

Though mineral rights are common practice in the United States, other places around the world do not offer individual citizens the ability to purchase the mineral rights to a plot of land. In England, for example, an individual may purchase a plot of land to be developed and changed upon the surface, but all mineral rights and natural resources found below the earth’s surface are property of the royal nation and its government. 

Since mineral rights are standard in the United States, it is common for individuals to own a plot of land and its mineral rights and then sell the mineral rights to a corporation or company for a set rate or ongoing royalty payments. When oil prices in the United States are especially high, these mineral rights can provide significant income to a household or individual. 

Considerations for Mineral Rights

Because mineral rights can provide significant income, these rights are vital in the negotiation and purchase of real estate. The ability to secure the oil rights to a property can turn a poor piece of land into a worthy investment. However, securing the mineral rights to a property is not always easy. 

In some states in the US, it is legal for developers to not share if a land listing includes the mineral rights to a property. When this is the case, it is entirely common for a homeowner to own only the surface rights to a property, when the underlying land holds an array of rich and valuable resources. You can avoid this letdown by carefully scanning the land use and land title records when purchasing a plot of land. Often, if you are working with a land broker they can provide more information regarding the mineral rights of a property. Though if you are working on securing the land by yourself you can obtain copies of the lands title documents from the local county clerk’s office. 

Summary: Mineral Rights

Though you may not have been completely familiar with them before reading this article, mineral rights are certainly important and influential when it comes to the value of a plot of land. These rights will provide you access and ownership to the natural resources that lie below the surface of a particular property. If you are currently looking to purchase a plot of land, it would be in your best interest to try and secure the mineral rights to the property as well. Check Land.us for properties in your area!