If you know anybody who bought a D R Horton home which was sold since 2007, they need to be aware of the way D R Horton worded their transfer deed. Many homes were sold with D R Horton retaining the mineral rights 500 feet below the surface. That means D R Horton’s subsidiary can come in and drill under the home and similarly sold nearby homes for natural gas, oil, etc. In Texas, where D R Horton is based, the land is always transferred without mineral rights. (There is oil in Texas, you know.) However in North Carolina, mineral rights have traditionally stayed with the property!
Right now the NC legislature is debating whether “fracking” for natural gas resources should be legalized in North Carolina. It could bring in a few hundred jobs to North Carolina. Unfortunately though, there is a risk, too. In northern states where fracking was done, some earthquakes occurred. No one knows if it was caused by the fracking method or not. The fracking method pumps water and chemicals into the rock (shale) to break it up and let out the natural gas. No articles I have read have mentioned if the “chemicals” are safe if they get in the groundwater. Shale also is a rock in which high levels of radon gas are found. What happens if radon gas escapes to the houses above?
Maybe you think it is not such a big deal, after all, it is 500 feet below the surface. It is a big deal, though. The property owners lost the value that those mineral rights added to their land. But the worst part is that when these homeowners go to sell their homes, they may have trouble finding lenders who will make loans in North Carolina on properties without the mineral rights. If buyers can’t get loans, they can’t buy the homes. People could be stuck with homes they cannot sell.
D R Horton has said (very quietly) that they will return the mineral rights to North Carolina property owners IF THEY REQUEST IT. D R Horton also hinted that if the legislature allows fracking, they may change their mind about returning the mineral rights. Homeowners who live in D R Horton homes need to act now! Have your friends in D R Horton homes check their deeds or call their closing attorneys. It is going to haunt us in a few years when homeowners are ready to move on. Please take a moment and think about the folks you know who could be affected, and let them know. They have rights now, if they act.