Surveys: What they are and why they are needed

When you finance the purchase of a house, Lenders will usually insist that you provide their attorney with a survey of the property to be purchased.  A survey is simply a drawing to scale of the property's boundaries and the structures built on the land, including the house, garages, swimming pools, fences, etc. and will ensure, amongst other things, that your structure or fences do not encroach on a neighbor’s property, and that theirs do not encroach on yours.

Compliance with Local laws: Every municipality has its own laws regulating the use, construction and location of real property situated within the municipality. Surveys will identify fences that are not constructed on the actual property line, structures that were built closer to the property lines than allowed, and other matters that may become serious problems if not resolved prior to closing.

Easements:  In addition to displaying the correct property boundaries which will help to avoid disputes with the neighbors, the survey will provide all necessary information regarding any easements (the right of use and/or entry onto the real property of another without possessing it) that affect the property.

Certification: One should always make sure the survey is certified to you by a licensed surveyor to ensure that you will have recourse should you suffer damages as a result of an erroneous survey.

Survey Inspection: If you are purchasing a residential property and wish to avoid the cost of a new survey, your Lender may waive the survey requirement and rely upon your title company issuing a “Survey endorsement” based upon an inspector physically inspecting the property to determine if anything has changed since the last survey was conducted.

Cost: While the cost of a survey will depend on a variety of factors, including the terrain and the shape and the size of your property, residential surveys typically range between $500.00 and $1,000.00. Considering you are most likely making one of the largest investments of your life, it is money well spent as this is not the time to be “penny-wise and dollar-foolish.”

When buying any property a survey is required and necessary, so make sure you give it a thorough review and solve any discrepancies.