What a Property Survey Is and Where to Get One?
When you are buying a new home, you will want to know precisely what it is you are buying. What this means is that you want to know exactly where the boundaries of your property are located. You may even need to determine this information before you can close on the purchase of your new home, whether it is a new construction home or a resale home. This requires a property survey.
What Is a Property Survey?
A property survey is a type of survey that is used to determine the precise boundaries of a property, including the legal description of those boundaries. A property survey isn’t always needed during the purchase of a home, but in some cases, it may be required by your mortgage company and based on where the property is located.
Why Is a Property Survey Necessary?
While some property boundaries are obvious, such as those bound by a road or a natural boundary, such as a stream or a river, others are bound by property line markers that were established in the past, such as a fence or a line of trees. However, there are many instances where the location of property boundaries is not obvious. Previous markers may have been altered or destroyed over time or the boundaries may never have been marked at all.
Having an understanding of your property boundaries is important for the following reasons:
- You will know precisely what property you are responsible for maintaining.
- You can make changes to your property and the structures on it without any concern for encroaching on your neighbor’s property.
- You will know whether there are any easements on your property, which are areas that have shared access with a neighbor, such as a driveway, road, or beach. This is property you may want to purchase in the future.
- You will have an understanding of any hazard areas and other issues with your property that can affect where, or even whether you can build additional structures.
Ultimately, a property survey provides you with critical knowledge about your property that can save you money and aggravation down the road.
Types of Property Surveys
With the above information in mind, there are a range of property surveys you can get on the property you are purchasing. These include:
- Land survey – This shows you the precise boundaries of your property.
- As-built survey – This not only determines where the property boundaries are, but it also determines where improvements to those boundaries can be made.
- Mortgage survey – This shows the boundaries of the property that are covered by a mortgage.
- Monumentation survey – This is the type of property survey that is done when you want to build a fence around your property.
- Floodplain survey – This is a topographical survey that is done to show whether there are parts of your property that are at risk of flooding.
How to Find an Existing Property Survey
The home you are purchasing may have already had a property survey done in the past. To get ahold of this survey, you can ask the seller to ask their title company or lender if there is a property survey on file. Another option is to ask your local tax assessor’s office or check local property records or your local engineering department.
If you can’t find a property survey, you will need to have your own conducted. Keep in mind that even if you find a previous property survey, it may be outdated and inaccurate. In this case, you will need to have an up-to-date survey done.
How to Have a Property Survey Conducted
To have a property survey done, you will need to hire a land surveyor. If you can get the surveyor that previously surveyed the property, that is ideal. You can also ask your lender or title company for recommendations. In addition, each state has a surveying society through which you can find accredited surveyors.
A few final things to keep in mind about property surveys:
- A property survey can be done at any time, whether you are buying a home, or you just want to conduct a survey before making changes to your property.
- The average cost of a property survey is $500, but they can range from $100 to $600.
- On average, a property survey takes a week to complete, but they can take up to three weeks depending on the surveyor and the property.
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