What Is A Property Survey

What Is A Property Survey

When purchasing a home, especially for the first time, you are going to encounter a lot of terms and jargon you may never have heard before.  “Property survey” is one such term you may encounter in the process, and it is often not considered one of the more important parts of the home buying process, but it is an essential part of any home purchase closing process and should not be overlooked.

What Is A Property Survey?

A property survey is a document, usually in the form of a map or sketch, that outlines all the prominent features of a property, including the house and the physical boundaries of that property.  It can also include other items, such as natural features on the property, including ponds or lakes, and man-made features such as pools.  These property surveys must be completed by a professional qualified to carry out a property survey, and usually have to be done within six months of any change of deed.

Why Do You Need A Property Survey?

In some states a property survey is required for a number of reasons.  From the perspective of a home buyer, your mortgage lender will usually want to see a recent property survey of the home and land you are purchasing for their records.  Also, you will need one for title issuing, and for your municipal office to calculate your property tax.  It is also important to note that if you plan on doing any renovations to your home after you purchase it, you will need it for your contractors.  This gives them a clear picture of the features of the property as it stands, and the boundaries of the property itself.

What Does It Cost, And Who Is Responsible?

In general, there are two types of property surveys—house location surveys and cadastral surveys—and in most cases it is the buyer who is responsible for the cost of the property survey.  If you are just planning to get the required documents for your mortgage lender, the more inexpensive house location survey is the way to go.  If there are any doubts about the property, however, such as whether a particular feature lies entirely on the property or not, it is a good idea to go for the more complete survey. In these cases you may be able to convince the seller that you require it in order to make a choice about whether you will purchase the property or not.

It is always advisable to have a REALTOR® who will help you navigate through this process, and they can give you the best advice on making a choice that is right for you.

While all this work may seem like a lot of effort to put forth for what may turn out to be just red tape, if there is a serious problem with the property you are hoping to buy and it goes undetected, what should be your greatest investment may turn out to be your greatest liability.