What is a title search?
A title search involves looking through all of the ownership records for a piece of real estate. This process involves chaining the deeds from when the most current owner to a specified date, a specified past owner, or even the ownership by the Commonwealth. These documents are of public record in the Recorder of Deeds Office in the county in which the property is located.
Do I own the oil and gas under my property?
Determining whether or to what extent you own the oil and gas under your property can be a surprisingly complex issue. To know for sure if you own the oil and gas under your property, a title search must be performed. While you likely had a title search performed when you bought your property, a title search for oil and gas is more complex. Unlike a title search for the sale of a house, which by statute only requires a 60 year look back period, a search of the oil and gas requires a title search back t0 at least the 1860s. While anyone can search the public records, it is advised to hire an experienced attorney to do so. Pennsylvania has its own set of laws relating to oil and gas, created through over one hundred years of lawsuits, which come into play in almost every title search for the oil and gas. As such, an experienced attorney is better positioned to make determinations of the oil and gas ownership. Our firm has assisted in determining the ownership of oil and gas in hundreds of purchases in Pennsylvania and can answer your ownership questions quickly and with a high degree of quality.
Was I offered good terms for a lease?
The determination of whether the terms of a lease you were offered are “good” are unique to each landowner. Some determinations you should consider are do you currently own the surface, do you ever plan to sell your property, and are you more interested in short term or long term monetary gains. You may be pressured to sign a lease, but never do so without at least attempting to negotiate the terms. It is advised that you contact an attorney experienced in the oil and gas industry to either represent you in the negotiations, or at least explain all of the different provisions of the lease to you. Our firm has assisted in determining the value of hundreds of leases. We can assist in crafting terms to a lease that are best for you.
What do I do if I want to sell my property that is under a lease?
Trying to sell a property that is under a lease can be challenging. First you will need to decide if you want to keep receiving royalties after you sell your property. If you want to, the buyer will be taking title to a property that is likely going to have some form of surface activity on it (ex: pipelines, pad, roads) without the benefit of getting any compensation for it. Accordingly, the buyer will likely try to compensate for these burdens by offering a lower purchase price. However, if you want to sell the oil and gas along with the rest of your property, you will likely get a higher purchase price. However, determining how much the oil and gas is worth is not something your real estate agent will likely be able to adequately handle. Our firm has assisted in the sale and purchase of thousands of acres of oil and gas rights in Pennsylvania. We are uniquely positioned to provide you with clear estimates on how much your oil and gas rights are worth that most real estate agents are not.
Why is my royalty check so small, am I being paid the correct amount?
A royalty check is the lifeblood of a landowner who has signed a lease. Generally, Pennsylvania allows for certain post production costs to be deducted from a landowner’s royalty payments. However, these costs can be eliminated through specific lease provisions. Determining what you are owed under your lease is not a simple matter. The records of company who is paying the royalty checks must be examined to verify you are getting the correct amount and to determine they are not taking costs they are not permitted to. Our firm is uniquely positioned as we have data from nearly one fifth of the units in Pennsylvania, as well as, the know how to quickly get any data we do not have relating to the remaining wells. If you are worried you are being underpaid on your royalties, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation.