Earlier this year, I witnessed a transaction involving minerals that could have been really bad for the seller. The lot was located within a neighborhood and the seller of the home on this particular lot happened to also own a mineral interest. However, the seller was not aware that he owned minerals because the interest was owned by his mother the last time the interest was leased.
Mineral Interests and Oklahoma Law
After the discovery of the mineral interest, an addendum was signed by the seller and buyer agreeing that the transaction was limited to the surface. However, the transaction closed with the deed not mentioning that it was intended to convey only the surface interest. Under Oklahoma law, a deed conveys everything you own unless an interest is explicitly reserved. Thus, the warranty deed conveyed both the surface and mineral interest to the buyer.
Luckily, the buyer in this transaction executed a quitclaim mineral deed back to the seller. However, had the buyer not been as helpful as it was, the seller would have had to go to litigation within 5 years to get the deed reformed to reflect the intent of the parties.
My takeaway from this scenario is that, unless you are completely certain that you do not own a mineral interest in the lands located on your property (i.e. the deed to your home was limited to the surface interest only), I would limit the sale of the home to the surface interest of your lands. Give Ball Morse Lowe a call at 405-701-5355 to learn about how we can assist with this process.