There are many issues that can affect your property. It is important to research these items before purchasing land.
3.1 - Not all lots are “legal”.A parcel (subdivision of land) must have been created by County subdivision review, or existed before the County Subdivision Regulations came into effect in 1997 or the parcel must have been created through one of the 13 sub-division exemptions in New Mexico Law. You can check with the County Manger’s office to determine if a parcel of land was properly subdivided before you buy it.
3.2 - Easements may require you to allow construction of roads, power lines, water lines, etc. across your land. There may be easements that are not of record. Check these issues carefully.
3.3 - Many property owners do not own the mineral rights under their property. Owners of mineral rights have the ability to change the surface characteristics in order to extract their minerals. It is very important to know what minerals may be located under the land and who owns them. Much of the rural land in Socorro County can be used for mining. Be aware that adjacent mining uses can expand and cause negative impacts.
3.4 - You may be provided with a plat of your property, but unless the land has been surveyed and pins placed by a licensed surveyor, you cannot assume that the plat is accurate.
3.5 - Fences that separate properties are often misaligned with the property lines. A survey of the land is the only way to confirm the location of your property lines.
3.6 - Many subdivisions and planned unit developments have covenants that limit the use of the property. It is important to obtain a copy of the covenants (or confirm that there are none) and make sure that you can live with those rules. Also, a lack of covenants can cause problems between neighbors. Socorro County does not enforce such private covenants. Check the subdivision’s covenants to learn if an association has that responsibility; check with you Realtor (or some of your future neighbors) to learn if the association is functioning. A dysfunctional or non-existent association can cause problems for you, and even involve you in expensive litigation.
3.7 - Homeowners associations (HOAs) are required to take care of common elements, roads, open space, etc. A dysfunctional homeowners association or poor covenants can cause problems for you and even involve you in expensive litigation.
3.8 - Dues are almost always a requirement for those areas with a HOA. The by-laws of the HOA will tell you how the organization operates and how the dues are set.
3.9 - The surrounding properties will probably not remain as they are indefinitely. The view from your property may change. Check the recorded plat of your subdivision to see what uses are platted within it. In addition, check in the Socorro County Clerk’s Office to determine if those uses may have been changes since the plat was recorded. You can also talk with the Socorro County Land Use Commission about the process that properties currently undergo for land use.
3.10 - If you have a ditch running across your property there is a good possibility that the owners of the ditch have the right to come onto your property with heavy equipment to maintain the ditch.
3.11 - Water rights that are sold with the property may not give you the right to use the water from any ditches crossing your land without coordinating with a neighbor who also uses the water. Other users may have senior rights to the water that can limit your use or require you to pay for the oversizing or other improving of the ditch.
3.12 - It is important to make sure that any water rights you purchase with the land will provide enough water to maintain fruit trees, pastures, gardens or livestock.
3.13 - The water flowing in irrigation ditches belongs to someone. You cannot assume that because the water flows across your property, you can use it.
3.14 - Flowing water can be a hazard, especially to young children. Before you decide to locate your home near an active ditch, consider the possible danger to your family.
3.15.- You are responsible for keeping your dog on your own property. New Mexico law allows the shooting of dogs when they kill, injure or chase livestock or wildlife. It is the right of any owner of livestock so killed, injured or bothered by the actions of any dog to kill the dog while it is upon property controlled by the owner of the livestock. Avoid the potential for tragedy and do the neighborly thing at the same time: keep your best friend in his own yard.