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Conservation Easements

Christine Bates, Realtor, Litchfield County, CT

When considering the purchase of a house with acreage, buyers should ask whether there is a conservation easement on the property itself and also on surrounding land. Conservation easements are permanent, recorded on the deed, and restrictions may prohibit certain uses. Every easement is very specific and is monitored by a local land trust.  If there is an existing easement, the buyer needs to understand the limitations on building and future use. Where can you build? Could you subdivide?

Having an easement on the land will not affect your ownership or necessarily decrease your property taxes, but may reduce future resale value. Being surrounded by other properties, which have been put into conservation, will protect your views and privacy.

Any property owner may consider placing a conservation easement on their land to prevent future development, and also to benefit from what can be substantial federal income tax deductions.  The process can be complicated and expensive. Be sure to consult first with your tax attorney.

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