Homebuyers are often overwhelmed by the long list of services that accompany a real estate purchase. Title reports, appraisals, home inspections, flood determination, credit reports, tax determination and surveys are all necessary to reassure everyone involved in the transaction that the property is marketable, insurable and deemed a worthy investment by the consumer as well as their lender.
The necessity of a survey is sometimes the most difficult to comprehend, especially in a city where houses have stood for nearly a century, or where a new development was recently approved by the local zoning officials. But a survey can provide valuable information to the homebuyer as well as the lender who is providing the funds to finance the purchase.
A survey details the boundaries of a parcel of land, often using systems such as “metes and bounds,” which describes a property using physical features of the land, such as a creek or neighboring properties, and defines the directions and distances of the parcel. Often times, permanent “markers” are embedded in the land to mark the boundaries, if there are no physical features to use to describe the boundaries. A surveyor will make sure the current legal description matches the true dimensions and measurements between the markers. A survey also identifies the location of the buildings on the property, such as the house, a garage or other improvements, as well as utility lines, easements, zoning setbacks or rights of way.
As a homebuyer is contemplating a real estate purchase, he or she wants to be assured the neighbor hasn’t built a shed across the property line, or widened a driveway that encroaches onto the property. In other words, a homebuyer wants to know they are getting what they are paying for. On the other hand, a homebuyer also needs to know the exact property boundaries, to avoid such things as building a fence two feet onto the neighbor’s yard, or cutting down a tree that actually belongs to the adjoining property. It is especially critical if the homebuyer is planning improvements, such as a larger garage or a new swimming pool that may infringe on an easement or violate a zoning code because it is too close to the property line.
Source: NEWSLink, a North American Title Insurance Company publication