Jim Valentine: Real estate in Nevada

If you are moving to Northern Nevada from another state, be sure to recognize that Nevada laws might be different than what you have experienced where you are coming from. Don’t assume it they are the same as what you are used to; you might find yourself with an unanticipated problem.

Some states don’t allow property to be landlocked. If there is no legal access in some states, their laws provide that the owner(s) of the property you have to traverse must grant you access. You have to pay market value, but they must allow you to pass. Not so in Nevada. If you are landlocked, you can’t get there from here without securing a legal access.

Nevada water law is very different than other states, including neighboring states. Nevada law is a pure Western Water Law state. You must own the right to the water to use it. Until recently, you couldn’t even capture rainwater in Nevada. Some folks looking at waterfront property, i.e. river, creek, etc., assume they can put a pump in the water and pull water. That is called riparian rights. We don’t have those in Nevada. You can’t just take water without a right to use it even if it crosses your property or you abut it.

Underground water rights can also be mystifying to newcomers. In some states, if you drill and find water you can pump it and use it. Not so in Nevada. You must have the right to use it and you are limited in what you pump by the extent of your water rights. Water rights in Nevada are real property and can be used in 1031 Exchange transactions. If you are buying property with water, water rights, or need water, be sure you understand what you are buying and what the market is. Water rights can have nominal costs or be very expensive depending on the type and location of the water right involved.

We were talking with a friend who shared that it took him 18 months to get a building permit in a California county. He was advised that it would take that long going in, but he doubted it. He shouldn’t have. In Northern Nevada, you can get a building permit in days or weeks, depending on the county and its workload. Be aware, too, that some Nevada counties don’t require building permits yet. Gotta love rural Nevada!

Real estate in Nevada is conducted to a high standard. From the standards of practice, protection of buyers and sellers, disclosure, ethics and values, agents in Nevada generally are among the best in the nation. There is a noticeable difference, however, in how we go to work. Instead of sedans, you will see many agents driving SUVs or pickups. It is hard to show rural property in a sedan, especially if you are in four-wheel drive conditions. Additionally, it makes sense to wear jeans or other casual clothing if there is a chance you will be walking through the sagebrush showing property that day. As such, three-piece suits are generally for appearing before the Legislature or some other fancy situation an agent might find himself involved with.

Our advice: As the maxim goes, “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” When dealing with Nevada real estate, be sure to do it the Nevada way. Ask questions to confirm your assumptions or understandings. Even if you think you know the answer, ask the question to be sure. Your agent can then help you confirm your footing as you go forward. Those discussions will either confirm your position or allow you to not make a mistake. Either way, your agent’s professionalism will help you if you are candid and curious.

If you are from the East, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to physically sit at the “closing table” with the seller. The close of escrow can be conducted in its entirety long distance. Another benefit of moving to Nevada: simplicity and function over form.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com


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