Real Estate Rights: A Look at Surface Rights

When purchasing real estate, you obtain a series of rights associated with it. One of the rights that can often be unknown or overlooked is the concept of “surface rights”.

What are “Surface Rights”?

“Surface rights” refer to the rights to use the surface of the earth. These rights include actions such as building on it, cultivating it, walking on it or carrying out any other use that takes place on its surface.

“Subsurface Rights” vs. “Surface Rights”

While “surface rights” concern the surface of the earth, there is another set of rights called “subsurface rights”. These represent the rights to natural resources found below the surface such as minerals, groundwater, oil and gas.

It is interesting to note that an owner can transfer subsurface rights without having to transfer surface rights. For example, a landowner could sell his oil and gas rights on his land to an oil company, but remains the owner of the land itself.


Owning real estate involves more than just the visible use on the surface. There are different rights layers associated with each parcel of land and it is essential to understand them to maximize the value and use of a property, as well as to avoid legal conflicts.

Legal and Tax Disclaimer

Please be advised that the content presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The articles and information provided here are written from the perspective of a real estate agent affiliated with Keller Williams, and do not represent legal or tax counsel.

As the author, I am a licensed real estate professional under Keller Williams, holding Brokerage DRE License Number: #02197031. However, it is important to note that my expertise is in the field of real estate, and not in legal or tax matters. The insights and opinions shared on this blog are based on my experiences and knowledge in the real estate industry and should be treated as general guidance rather than definitive legal or tax advice.

For specific legal or tax concerns relating to any real estate transactions or investments, readers are strongly encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney or tax advisor who can provide tailored advice based on your individual circumstances and the latest legal and regulatory requirements.

The information on this blog is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, and I, along with Keller Williams and its affiliates, disclaim all liability for any loss, damage, or misunderstanding arising from reliance on the information contained herein.

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