The Benefits of Having a Survey

Usually, when I represent someone purchasing commercial property, an apartment building, or a single-family home, I don’t have to worry about ordering a survey.  That’s the seller’s job.  But with more and more of my clients purchasing real estate that has been foreclosed directly from the bank, I find myself advising my clients to obtain surveys before closing.  Why?  Many bank-owners of foreclosed property don’t provide surveys as part of their agreement with the buyer.  As a result, something that the buyer did not anticipate having to pay for becomes an additional expense.  Surveys range in price from a few hundred dollars for residential property to thousands of dollars for large parcels of commercial property.

But really, you should get that survey.  Why?  Here are a few reasons:

1) You may not be able to purchase the property without a survey even if you are willing to.  Many lenders require a survey as a condition of financing.

2) Having a survey gets you extended coverage on title.  This is a little bit more comprehensive and stronger form of title coverage than you would get otherwise.

3) There may be an encroachment or other serious issue with the layout or location of fixed structures on the property.  It’s better to know now than find out later.

4) You may find the property lines are entirely different from what you thought they were.  That apple tree you thought was yours?  Surprise, it belong to your neighbor, and so does that whole hedge.  Again, it’s better to know now than to find out later.

5)  Sometimes surveys are needed when you apply for a tax appeal, especially if you believe you are being assessed for property that is not yours.

6)  If you intend to subdivide the real estate you are purchasing, you will need a survey to submit as part of the subdivision process.