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Owning Land

The Advantages of a Strong Property Presence

October 5, 2018

A review of land ownership in South Carolina shows that a surprising 17.74% of landowners do not live within the state. This doesn’t take into account the number of owners that do live within the state itself but are located several hours away from their parcel. This premise is often something that many landowners don’t think about or perceive as an issue. However, being an absentee property owner can, in fact, present a few problems. Here are three things you should watch out for if you don’t frequent your property often.

Encroachment and Adverse Possession

In South Carolina, you can lose ownership of parts of your property if another adjacent landowner uses that part of your property without objection or obstruction by you for a continuous period of 10 years. This can be avoided by simply visiting your property and being a good steward of the land. An accurate survey will show any encroachments so they can be addressed as well. It’s crazy to think that some of your property could be legally taken from you simply by you not being present, but that’s the reality for an absentee landowner.


Poaching is often thought of as the hunting of animals that are in some sort of protected manner—whether it’s where they’re located or their status as a species. This, however, can occur on any property where an animal is hunted and taken off the property by any means that were not naturally motivated without human influence. In other words, this means you can’t shoot at the deer on another property to scare it onto yours. The SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has programs that allow a landowner to register their property and allow a DNR agent, with jurisdiction to prosecute, to enter your property for means of security and prevention of unauthorized entry. Check to see if your state has similar programs to avoid this problem.

Illegal Dumping

Many times, trash is dumped onto a person’s property because of someone else’s lack of access to a place where the trash can be disposed of legally and responsibly. While in no way is this ethical, responsible or even nice, it happens. Your presence on the property can reduce the possibility of this happening. When these unwelcome “visitors” see that you’re an active landowner, they are less likely to dump their trash on your beautiful property for fear of getting caught!

In the event that you are selling your property, you should have an agent that can pick out the potential of these things happening on your property, especially if you are not able to get to your tract often. Services as simple as these are not often discussed but should be considered.

About the Author
Nicholas Ardis is a Land Professional for National Land Realty based out of our Columbia, SC office. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a double-major in both Finance and Global Supply Chain/Operations Management. Nicholas currently lives in Columbia, SC near the USC campus. He spends most of his time outdoors - hunting, fishing, and playing sports with friends. Nicholas is a people person, loves being on or near the water, and is an avid South Carolina fan. View Nicholas's Listings and Reviews on