Should I have my property surveyed when purchasing a house?

Survey for new home

Buying a property is a costly process that requires the added expenses of appraiser, lender, and title fees to name a few.  Is it really necessary then to throw in a property survey to the collection of costs?

Consider Meagan and Ethan’s situation.

They decided to purchase a house in the country with a larger yard so that they could install a pool for their children.  In order to begin installation, they applied for a permit with their local municipality and were shocked to find their permit was denied: a large portion of their backyard actually belonged to their neighbor’s property. Without adequate yard space to install a pool, Meagan and Ethan were forced to forfeit their plans.

Had Meagan and Ethan ordered a survey of the property before purchasing, they would have discovered this discrepancy before signing the papers, giving them either greater bargaining power with the seller or the choice to look for a more suitable property.

 Examples like these are not uncommon.

A more costly example would be someone like Derrick, a bachelor who wanted to install a fence on his property so his dogs could roam free.  After getting his property surveyed, he was cleared to build the fence, but the survey also revealed that a retaining wall on the south end of his property was encroaching on his neighbor’s lot.  It would cost him thousands of dollars to shift the retaining wall that the previous owner had built.

Having a property surveyed before purchasing does add on to your costs, but it is a vital precaution that can give you a much clearer picture of what you are buying.  For some buyers, this clearer picture can significantly change the terms of the purchase or even call off the deal.

When your property is surveyed, you will receive confirmation of the acreage and a precise analysis of the boundaries.  The boundary analysis will could include any improvements made by previous owners (for instance, fences, sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls, or landscaping) to determine whether these features encroach on a neighboring lot.

Purchasing a property is a large financial investment that requires careful planning.  Rather than get surprised with an unforeseen hardship, get the property surveyed before deciding to move in.  This may save you time, money, and a great deal of hassle in the long run.

Phil Landry