Title Tip: Digging Into Your Mineral Rights

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When purchasing a Texas property, the mineral rights may or may not come with it. Uncovering and then cashing in on mineral rights are not as easy as Jeb Clampett shootin’ up some crude.

Do Mineral Rights Always Transfer?

Whether any mineral rights transfer with a property depends on what rights the current seller owns. Let’s dig a little deeper. In the beginning of time (or for the sake of this article, let’s say 300 years ago), a piece of land included all rights to the property along with the right to do what you wanted with it.

But in time, some property rights may have been given away, taken away, or sold. A property owner can transfer all or part of their property rights by deed, lease, easement, mortgage, or will. Someone who owned your piece of land 100 years ago could have done any of those with the mineral rights. You may own a huge piece of land and have no right to the minerals that lie beneath it.

TREC Residential Contract, Paragraph 2D

Using the standard TREC residential contract, the mineral rights owned by the seller transfer with the property per paragraph 2D. But only the mineral rights owned by the seller will transfer to the buyer. An owner can’t sell you rights that they don’t have. If the seller wants to retain any of the mineral rights, an addendum must be included.

The mineral rights addendum specifically states: “A full examination of the title to the Property completed by an attorney with expertise in this area is the only proper means for determining title to the Mineral Estate with certainty …”

Even though the surface rights may convey to the buyer, the subsurface mineral rights like gas, oil and other mineral rights that may not necessarily transfer. Surface rights that transfer can include natural resources such as plants, water and other resources. Details on ownership of those need expert legal advice as well.

How Do You Get The Mineral Rights?

If you really want to who owns the mineral rights for a property, hire an abstract company. Or you can try the do-it-yourself method by researching the property records at your county clerk’s office. It is often necessary to trace records back through several transactions to determine where they may have initially been sold and then whether those rights were then sold to someone else.

In Texas, mineral rights are transferred with a Mineral Deed.  Occasionally, mineral rights are not sold but are leased. A leasehold is a different scenario that needs a real estate attorney’s guidance.

Laws concerning mineral rights can be complicated. Just remember that property ownership is completely separate from mineral rights ownership. Sorry folks, but you have no rights to your land’s minerals if you don’t legally own the rights.

Ya’ll can stop diggin’ now, y’hear? 

The opinions expressed are of the individual author for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Contact an attorney to obtain advice for any particular issue or problem

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Lydia Blair

Lydia Blair (formerly Lydia Player) was a successful Realtor for 10 years before jumping to the title side of the business in 2015. Prior to selling real estate, she bought, remodeled and sold homes (before house flipping was an expression). She’s been through the real estate closing process countless times as either a buyer, a seller, a Realtor, and an Escrow Officer. As an Escrow Officer for Allegiance Title at Preston Center, she likes solving problems and cutting through red tape. The most fun part of her job is handing people keys or a check.

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