WHY ORDER A SURVEY?
We’ve found your new house, agreed upon the sales price & closing date with the seller. The closing attorney wants to know if you want a survey ordered on your new house. It is not a mandatory service to have done. So, you are looking at all the other fees and services you are getting and think “Do I really need a Survey?” The answer should always be YES.
WHAT IS A SURVEY?
A survey goes to the question of the marketability of the house. The surveyor determines whether the house is within the property borders, whether there are any encroachments on the property by neighbors and the extent to which any easements on the property may affect legal title.
A current Survey also assists the Buyer after moving into the home in determining where to locate certain improvements, build fences or install landscaping without violating any property restrictions or the rights of adjacent property owners.
There are the “Top 10” reasons why getting a survey is important. In most situations only 4 apply:
1 – BOUNDARY LINES – One of the most common reasons a landowner seeks the assistance of a surveyor, the location of boundary lines and other lines of occupancy or possession is a critical piece of information to have before you build a fence, add a sunroom or pave your driveway.
2 – RIGHT OF WAY, EASEMENTS – A survey will show all the conditions imposed by law that are reflected in your property’s title report and other agreements.
3 – EXISTING IMPROVEMENTS– The surveyor will usually certify that the buildings and other improvements, alterations, and repairs to your property that exist at the time of the survey are not in violation of laws
4 – WATER, ELECTRIC, GAS, TELEPHONE, CABLE, ETC.- Poles and above-ground wires are obvious, but the surveyor can usually report on the existence of underground cables and drains, as well, if the information is provided to him or her by your utility companies and municipality. Such information is important for two reasons. A utility company may have the right to use a portion of your property for upkeep of utility lines and may have a say in how tall you let your trees grow, for instance. Also, knowing the exact location of underground utilities is critical before any excavation or construction begins.
This is an example as to why you should order a survey – The home’s back yard had fencing going around it completely. Due to the location of the house it bordered up to a few other homes. Those other homes had fenced in their yards. This particular homeowner kept the style of fencing up and added on to the areas the fence did not cover. Upon doing a survey of the property we found that three of the neighbors built the back of their fences on her property. In fact, two of them intruded onto her property by over 10 feet. This caused a nightmare for the seller and the new homeowner. Because now we had issues with the property begin properly surveyed and neighbors encroaching on the property. The seller had purchased the house a few years earlier and did not order a survey to save on cost. Now, it is costing him a lot more money than that. The buyer will not close on the property without the fences being moved and the seller did not have a survey so he was not protected by any.
WHO ORDERS AND PAYS FOR THE SURVEY?
Usually, the Buyer orders & pays for the Survey
If the Seller offers to provide a previous Survey, you’re not legally covered by any changes that may have occurred since the last survey was completed.
WHEN IS THE SURVEY ORDERED?
The survey should be ordered within a day or so of signing the Offer to Purchase and Contract with the Seller. By ordering the survey early in the Due Diligence period, we can immediately handle any issues that may arise.
WHO DO YOU CALL TO GET A SURVEY?
Professional Land Surveyor acceptable to the Title Company
Blondell Properties uses the John South Law Firm for many of our closings. Their Title Insurance Company recommends:
John Collier with CDK Geomatics
or John Phelps
HOW MUCH DOES A SURVEY COST?
On Average – $400 – $500
When you go to settlement, you should ask the settlement attorney to review the survey with you, and to discuss any potential issues the survey may raise. Are the fences encroaching on your neighbor’s property? Is the driveway owned by you — or it is a shared driveway? Who owns any trees which are on the property? Once you purchase the property, it may be too late to raise any boundary-related issues.
And don’t forget to get a copy of the survey from your closing attorney before you leave the settlement table.