Managing Real Estate Broker with National Land Realty 120358

I had a very pleasant experience at a closing in Poteau last week.

The buyers were from Minnesota and after four months of looking, we found the perfect house on 15 acres in Wister, Oklahoma.  There's a view of a mountain off every porch in all four directions.  It's an awesome property.  The house was built from the materials salvaged from the old barn that had once stood on the site.

Just one problem:  the sellers did not own the mineral rights.

You have to understand what the search parameters were in looking for this "perfect place to retire:"

  • good dirt for gardening
  • no neighbors in sight
  • no road noise
  • out of earshot of a train
  • no chicken houses up wind
  • no oil wells or gas wells
  • 10 to 20 acres minimum
  • high ceilings
  • approximately 2,000 square feet of living space
  • a fabulous cook's kitchen
  • a great shop for woodworking
  • a second shop for working on cars
  • no further than half an hour from a Wal-Mart

We looked all over Northeast Oklahoma.  Let me tell you.  We found some incredible places that made me so excited about selling country property here.  There are so many wonderful places available at very affordable prices.

So when we found this property we were very excited. 

However, I had sufficiently lectured my out-of-state buyers on the importance of owning at least 50% of the minerals under the land they should purchase.  If you don't own it, you can't control it.

After the papers were signed at the closing the buyers inquired of the closer how much it would cost to do a mineral abstract to find out who owns the minerals under the land.  The answer was, "Thousands."

The surface abstract was on the desk in front of the closer who also happened to be the abstractor.

I suggested that perhaps it was the previous owners who had retained the mineral rights and maybe we could figure it out there without my sending my buyers to the court house themselves or sending them to a landman.

The closer opened the file and said, "Yes, it's right here."  She then opened the phone book and gave my buyers the names and phone numbers of the man who had kept the mineral rights.  She also looked up the name of his son and gave my buyers his phone number too.

It just doesn't get any better than that. 





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Comments (2)

Richard Byron Smith, NMLS #184479
Mortgage Loan Officer, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation NMLS #2289 - Chattanooga, TN
Mortgage Loan Officer


Without mineral rights do the home owners have control over the access to the minerals? In other words, can the mineral rights owner come onto the property and mine - destroying any market value that the home migh have had?


Sep 07, 2008 02:45 PM
Debbie Durkee
National Land Realty - Tulsa, OK
ALC, CRS -- Land & Country Estates near Tulsa


No, there is nothing that the homeowner can do to stop them from coming onto your land unless the homeowner owns more than half of the mineral rights.  If the owner owns half or less, then they do not have control (the other mineral owners can "pool" and thereby gain control).

In Oklahoma an operator has to notify landowners that they will be coming onto their land.  The operator has to file a $25,000 surface damage bond with the Secretary of State and then register with the various counties where the operator has leases.  Note that they only have to put down $25,000 once and it covers all their leases all over the state (as long as they register with the individual counties).

In Oklahoma the coal on the surface is usually owned by the surface owner (although this statement does not apply in Osage County where the Osage Nation owns all the rocks on the surface -- or so I have been told).  Strip mining is generally done, therefore, because the surface owner wants to develop the resource. 

Oil and gas development is not as damaging to the surface as strip mining.  The surface damage problems occur because roads have to be created and maintained that are big enough to handle large heavy equipment:  drilling rigs, frac tanks, water trucks, bulldozers, mud pumps, track hoes, trenching equipment, etc.

Sep 07, 2008 03:46 PM