The 411 on Location Surveys
As a homebuyer, you may be asked if you want to purchase a location survey. While the majority of buyers opt to do this, it isn’t always necessary. What is it exactly? And how do you know if you need one?
What is a location survey?
Location surveys establish all corners and property lines of a designated property. These surveys identify any encroachments and easements that may not be physically visible during an inspection. Sometimes, buyers who forego hiring a surveyor are surprised to learn that their property is not what they thought it was (whether it is the size of the property, or learning that the property is against zoning or other regulations).
When compared to the cost of potential location disasters, the cost of hiring a surveyor is quite affordable ranging from about $200-$400.
Are Location Surveys Important?
Location surveys can help prevent a lot of future headache, time, and money. It’s not unheard for some homebuyers (who don’t have a location survey) to learn that their home is being built on someone else’s property– a costly mistake that the new homeowner is now responsible for. Location surveys are a dependable way of assuring you of basic information on a property.
Location surveys establish the location and existence of a property, identify the relationship of the property to adjoining properties, show any discrepancies between actual occupation and the description on public record, and indicate specific areas of any physical improvements.
Some may disregard a location survey if they have a copy of an old plat. However, if there have been changes or improvements made to the property since the plat, or if laws and regulations have changed, it may affect your property rights.
When are they needed?
Location surveys aren’t always necessary, but there are some key things to keep in mind when considering one:
- If you are building or are planning on new construction, you will want to hire a location surveyor. (Do not mistake a building contractor as a land surveyor).
- If you are selling your property and want to make it more marketable, potential buyers will appreciate a location survey as it gives them confidence and peace of mind before they commit to buying.
- If you plan to buy, build, or remodel your property, securing a location survey can help save you time and money.
While location surveys aren’t always required, they are a good investment. In the end, it all depends on how comfortable you are with a property you are purchasing. At Northern Title, we care about our clients and their needs, which is why we always recommend obtaining a location survey.
It isn’t difficult to find a surveyor to hire. Just some simple research online or a visit with your lender or title company is all it takes.
The surveyor will first proceed by researching public files on the property (including title searches, deeds, legal descriptions, history, etc.) Next, he will visit the property site and document any physical improvements, make measurements, locate any evidence of changes, sketch out the land and its boundaries, and any other elements that make up the property.
The surveyor then compares his findings from the field with the public records, and drafts a plat identifying property limits and locations of physical improvements (power poles, drainage ditches, telephone and cable TV boxes, etc). He records any discrepancies found on the plat and provides a type of map detailing the property’s legal boundaries.
The Final Say
You don’t need to be in the market for real estate to have a survey done– you can actually have your property surveyed at any time. While they cost a small investment, they are invaluable as they provide buyers with the confidence they need in purchasing.
Contact us at Northern Title today and let us help you find a location surveyor, and help give you peace of mind.