Property SURVEYS

learn why you need one when purchasing a home


Learn why you need one when purchasing a home

Property surveys are a normal part of the home buying process. The first thing you should do is hire a registered land surveyor to conduct it.

A property survey can uncover any possible problems with encroachments, covenants, or zoning. Property surveys are part of any good due diligence investigation.

Here are some common reasons for property surveys:

Boundary Lines

One of the most common reasons for a survey is to determine the location of boundary lines. This boundary may be a fence, but is that fence really the best measure? No, a legal survey will inform you of the absolute lines of boundary.

Rights-of-Way, Easements, and Abandoned Roads

A survey shows all the conditions imposed by law per the property’s title report and other agreements. If a property blocks a neighbor from accessing to the road, for example, there may be an “easement” that gives the neighbor the right to walk across the property’s yard to the street.

Existing Improvements

The surveyor certifies that the buildings, alterations, and repairs to your property that exist at the time of the survey are not in violation of laws or other restrictions. Restrictions could include height, bulk, dimension, frontage, building lines, set-backs, and parking. Should any of these be in violation, the survey will notate this and put the property owner on notice.

Utility Pipes, Poles, and Drains

Poles and above-ground wires are obvious, but the surveyor also reports on the existence of underground cables and drains, as well, if the information is available.

This information is important for two reasons. A utility company may have the right to use a portion of the property for upkeep of utility lines. This right may include limiting your trees to grow to a certain height. Second, knowledge of the exact location of underground utilities is critical before any new excavating or construction begins.

Zoning Classification

Finally, it’s ideal to know what the property is zoned for—residential or light industrial use. Zoning classifications put specific restrictions on how property is used. This part of the survey simply reports the zoning jurisdiction and classification.

At Moore & Alphin, we highly recommend property surveys as part of your home purchase. If you have any questions about what the survey reveals, we are glad to answer them.