What is a Property Survey?

freeimage-5627597-webBuying a new house or thinking about adding on to your existing home? These are just a few instances where you may need a property survey. By calling in a professional to assess the property lines, as outlined by the deed, you can protect yourself from legal disputes and determine the true value for a home and it’s surrounding lot. In fact, many lenders will require a property survey as part of the loan approval process.

What exactly is a property survey?

A professional surveyor will read the legal documents related to the property and define, on the physical property, where the boundaries lie. They will also note observations about whether any existing structures encroach on these boundaries.

When might you need a property survey?

  • If you are selling your home.
  • If you are buying a home.
  • If you need one for a property tax assessment.
  • If you (or your neighbors) are planning any additions or construction projects (i.e. garages, pools, decks, patios, driveways, or building extensions).
  • For estate planning.

What steps should I take if I need a property survey?

Contact a professional surveying company. Be prepared with a copy of your deed. A reputable company will do their research and review the legal documents you provide before giving you an estimate. In addition, be sure the company checks for previous surveys that may have been conducted. It can sometimes make the process faster and less expensive if the surveyor can simply verify the existing report. It’s advisable to get multiple bids before selecting a company.

After the survey is complete the company should provide you with a written report. If your lender requested the survey, the report will belong to them, but you can still request a copy.

As a buyer it is especially important to know what you are paying for and whether or not any neighboring structures are encroaching on the property as it is legally defined. As a seller, a property survey can help to determine a fair asking price and also substantiate that price should a lower offer be made. And of course, taking action ahead of time to avoid any legal issues regarding construction projects on your property, or your neighbor’s, is always a wise decision.


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