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In Georgia and many other states, purchasing real estate is complex and involves more than what the buyer sees on the surface. Unfortunately, some in the industry are quick to take advantage when buyers do not understand all the legal aspects of the transaction. For example, it is possible to purchase property and not own the mineral rights that go with it.

Mineral rights are not always included in the purchase of land. One may own what is on the surface, but any oil, gold, coal or other minerals may belong to someone else, usually a large company. Sometimes one of those companies may offer to purchase the rights or royalty rights from the landowner. However, if the previous owner of a property leased the mineral rights, the new owner may not have the right to sell them.

What are mineral rights?

It is important for those looking to purchase land to understand the kinds of rights they may be dealing with, for example:

  • Mineral rights grant ownership to what is below the surface.
  • Royalty rights are a percentage of profits an investor receives, such as the landowner.
  • Oil and gas rights permit one to capture fluid minerals, like oil or gas, even if they flow from other properties.

When a company offers to purchase mineral rights from a landowner, it may be easy to accept the deal and take the first offer. However, the wise move is to carefully examine the offer to be certain it is not taking advantage of the landowner. Before signing any real estate contract, one may benefit from an evaluation from a legal professional who understands Georgia’s mineral rights laws.