Why Land Surveys Are Crucial for Home Buyers
August 21, 2020
Land surveys can help home and property buyers avoid future headaches such as boundary disputes. Learn the costs and what you can expect.
The importance of getting your future home surveyed has never been greater. In these trying times, along with all the red tape involved in purchasing a home, it’s almost impossible to know if you are truly getting what you are paying for.
This is especially important when it comes to your property and knowing if there are issues that should be disclosed before you take the leap of purchasing a home.
Many banks used to require land surveys before purchasing land, but due to the recent financial crisis and efforts to cut what banks consider nonessential costs, the importance of getting a survey before purchasing land has been put on the back burner.
However, the importance of a land survey before you make the most important financial decision of your life has never been greater.
Why do I need a land survey?
Here are a few reasons a land survey can help prevent problems:
Possible encroachments on your potential property can become bigger issues down the road. For example, a neighbor’s fence, wall or even a building could be on the property.
A property corner could be missing.
This would be an issue if you ever plan on putting up a fence. You will need to know exactly where your property line is located. If you don’t, you could possibly build on your neighbor’s property and end up with the financial burden of having to remove and rebuild the fence in the correct location.
Possible property line or property corner disputes. A survey can reveal if there’s any property line or property corner disputes with the property.
A land survey will help protect your investment. A survey can reveal the exact property dimensions, size and location of the home on the property, as well as any other improvements on the land, such as a driveway that may be crossing a property line.
Some property owners plan on dividing their property to give to a family member or sell for profit. A land survey would let you know what regulations may affect your plans.
Many counties and cities place restrictions on dividing property; a local land surveyor will know these regulations and guide you through the process.
Some land surveyors can even represent you in county or city planning meetings to help you save time and money.
How much does a land survey cost?
Your local land surveyor will be happy to provide you with a free estimate on surveying your property. Many factors come into play when determining the cost of a survey including the type of survey you require, the type of terrain on the property, and the availability of records and monumentation.
Not all surveys will require a map once it’s done. It would reduce the cost to you if all you needed was your property lines flagged and your corners marked. So keep in mind the cost will vary if you need a map once it’s done or if you will only require the field work.
How can I reduce the cost of land surveying?
When you are shopping around for prices, some factors can help you reduce cost. You could do your own research and provide the surveyor with your deed and if applicable, a past plat of your subdivision, if one is available on record at your local probate office.
You can also reduce costs by making sure that property lines are clear and unobstructed before the land surveyor comes. Because most surveyors work on an hourly basis, this would reduce their time required to complete the survey.
What should I look for in a surveyor?
You also want to make sure your surveyor is licensed and insured. If a mistake is made, and they rarely happen, you would like the peace of mind in knowing you will be covered.
Choose a competent surveyor that has been in business for a while and have been established in their community.
Many property owners who use with the cheaper guy often end up paying more in the long run. Getting a quality survey that meets your needs and legal requirements may cost more but in the long run it will be less expensive.
About this Experts contributor: Brian S. Harris is a key member at McBride-McGill, Land Surveying & Civil Engineering. Founded in 2002 and located in Phenix City, Alabama, McBride-McGill is a veteran owned and operated small business that serves the local community and the greater Alabama & Georgia regions. The company is fully insured and licensed, and its professionals offer customers more than 80 years combined experience.