Whether you’re selling your home or buying a home, you may find that you need a property survey to continue the process. Property surveys can be very helpful when dealing with certain real estate questions.
What is a Property Survey?
A simple description of a property survey is:
A property survey is the process of determining the proper identification of a property’s boundaries.
While the description may be simple, the process can be complicated, which is why professional surveyors exist.
A good property survey starts with quality research into the history, deed, and title of a property. Next, thorough fieldwork during which the surveyor assesses the land in person must be completed. After the field work a detailed map is created which lays out different aspects of the property including any structures, fences, driveways, easements, and more.
The most important aspect of a survey, of course, is establishing the legal boundary of a property. This is important information to have if you own or are planning on buying a piece of property no matter what the size is or location. The size and location of the property can sometimes affect taxation issues or which county a property falls in.
Knowing exactly what belongs to you can also help you avoid accidentally encroaching on someone else’s property – a problem that is not as rare as you might think.
Reasons for Getting a Property Survey
There are many reasons you might need or want to get a survey, and there are actually different types of surveys for different occasions. The most common reason for obtaining a property survey is because they are often required when buying a home or plot of land.
While every city has different requirements, if you are applying to get a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance, an updated survey is often required before approval. Even if it is not required when buying a property, it is highly recommended that you have a professional survey completed before buying any piece of property.
If you are buying a home in a high risk flood area (floodplain), you will likely require flood insurance. In order for your premium to be determined, you will need an elevation certificate, a specific type of survey. This will also likely be required in order to have your mortgage loan approved.
Another reason you might find yourself ordering a survey, even after you buy the property, is when you decide to make any changes to it. In order to get permits for projects like adding a fence, installing a pool, building a shed, or other changes to your property, you will first have to submit a survey for that project.
Again, every city has different requirements, so be sure to check with your local inspection office before getting started on any projects to know exactly what you need before getting started!
The Importance of a Property Survey
As stated above, there can be major consequences for not having an updated survey completed on a piece of property you are investing in. While it might sound like a rare and outrageous situation, it is actually a very common occurrence to accidentally build on someone else’s property or to buy a house that encroaches on the neighbor’s property.
Whether or not it was an honest mistake, this will land you in hot legal water that can end up costing you way more than the cost of a simple survey. Knowing exactly what legally belongs to you will help you and your neighbors avoid unnecessary friction as well as significant legal costs.