Do You Really Need a Property Survey?

Do You Really Need a Property Survey?

Do You Really Need a Property Survey?

A property survey is a drawing done by a professional surveyor that shows the boundaries and improvements. Simply put, a survey shows were the exact property lines are and the location of structures on the property. Some surveys may also include topographical information, fence lines and surface water, if those features are present. A survey can be done on any type of real property, but like most things in this world, surveys are not free. The cost varies depending on several factors, such as the amount of acreage, improvements, etc. Surveys can range from $400 to several thousand or more. Most buyers get a survey because their lender requires it, but even if you’re not required to get one, it is in your best interest.

Why buy new when you can buy “used?”

If anything has changed on the property or if the survey is older, you should pony up for a survey, even if it is not required to close. Yes, it costs extra—but it could save you from problems in the future. What if that awesome new pool that isn’t on the old survey is actually over the property line and on the neighbor’s property? What if the neighbor’s new fence is actually 2 feet over onto the property you’re purchasing? The only way to know is with a new survey.

You can’t always trust the fence

There are many things that a survey could reflect that you wouldn’t know with the naked eye. For instance, fence lines. Fence lines are often pointed at to be the property line, but they’re not 100% reliable. Most people assume they are, but many fence lines are “on the property line-ish” and sometimes completely random!

Make sure you’re buying what you think you are

Maybe its been awhile since a property was last surveyed, maybe the owners cut out a few acres from the back and gave it to cousin Fred, or maybe Mom gifted a few acres to throw in to the mix. Whatever the case may be, you need to know what you are buying and you want to get exactly what you’re paying for. I have seen surveys come back both short several acres and in excess of several acres. Seems crazy and its not always the case, but it happens—and you don’t want to be the one it happens to. Yes, a survey is an additional expense, but it is small potatoes compared to the purchase price. Knowing exactly where the lines of your little slice of Texas heaven is priceless.

Lisa Priest likes a well defined property line and is a Palestine, Texas Broker/REALTOR® with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or read more at