The Need For Surveys – November 3, 2021

When buying a home, there are many things that must be done before sealing the deal. One of those things is obtaining a survey. Surveys, also known as boundary or land surveys, map out your real estate property, show its boundary lines, improvements made to the property, the existence of encroachments and easements, as well as an abundance of other critical information! A land survey is essential in a title search because it shows of the legal description of the land. Title insurance and boundary surveys go hand in hand and is one of the most important documents you’ll have when buying a home.

A survey is extremely helpful in obtaining a clear understanding of the condition of title for the land. They play a role in both residential and commercial real estate transactions. The survey will disclose matters such as zoning, setbacks, easements, boundaries, possible encroachments, and environmental issues. The reviewing attorney should always confirm that the legal description corresponds with both the boundaries shown on the survey and the legal description stated in the real estate contract. You want to make sure that no information is mismatched, and you know exactly what is yours. The reviewing attorney should also confirm items on the survey such as properties, parking space count, floodplain matters, et cetera. Finally, the survey certification should be examined and verified.

Even though surveys are not mandatory, they are highly suggested. Here are some reasons as to why you should get a survey:

  • Undisclosed Rights and Easements: you may own your new home and its surrounding land, but by some chance someone else might have a right to use a portion of your property. A survey will show physical evidence of the rights of others to use your property for access, parking, utilities, and other situations
  • Undiscovered Encroachments: surveys provide information such as if a third party holds a claim to part of your property because their improvements, such as a garage, fence, a wall, or swimming pool, are by some chance on your land
  • Is The Property Built On The Correct Lot: it may seem impossible, but sometimes a house can be built on the wrong lot. A survey shows the exact location of the house you are purchasing
  • Knowing The Size Of Your Property: a survey shows the exact dimensions of the property’s boundary lines and how much land is included within those lines. You don’t want to accidentally build a garage or have a fence on someone’s property

When it comes to surveys, it can save you from a very costly mistake – building your home on someone else’s land. It’s important to know where you sit and what you have access to. Reviewing the survey provides a good opportunity to inform the seller that there may be certain things to be aware of, such as a potential default under the contract. An example would be misrepresenting that no improvements have been made to the property or causing a delay in the event the purchaser or the lender requires that a certificate of occupancy be obtained.

Overall, surveys can save you from a lot of trouble and hassle. Buying a home should be an exciting time and the last thing you would want is to accidentally build a pool and have to share it with your neighbors. It is important to establish from the beginning your boundaries and how much land is within your lines. A survey is essential and will be an important document in your home searching journey!