All About Property Surveys
Simply put, a survey is a drawing done by a professional surveyor that shows the property lines and location of improvements. Some surveys may also include other information, such as flood areas, fence lines and surface water, if applicable. The cost of a survey can vary depending on size, improvements, terrain, property history, etc. Most surveys are ordered during the initial purchase, refinance or during construction. Surveys aren’t always required, but you may need one more than you think!
Should you get a new survey if there is an old one? – If anything has changed on the property or if the survey is older, you should strongly consider paying for a survey (or an updated survey), even if it is not required to close. Yes, it will cost extra money—but it could save you from serious problems in the future. What if that awesome new shop that was built after the last survey is actually partially on the neighbor’s land? What if the new septic system has water lines that cross the neighbor’s property? What if the neighbor’s shiny new fence is actually several feet onto the property you’re buying? The sure fire way to protect yourself in these type of situations is with a new survey.
Fences aren’t necessarily on the property line! – A survey can uncover things that you wouldn’t know without one. The number one example of this is fence lines acting as property lines. Fence lines are often pointed at to be the property line, but they’re not always 100% reliable. Most people assume they are, but many fences are somewhat close ,but not exactly on the line; or sometimes in a completely random spot!
Whatever your reason for considering a survey—really think about the consequences of not getting one, if things are not as they appear. If there is no existing survey, it is a risk not to get one. If there is an existing survey, but the improvements have changed significantly and there is even a small chance that those improvements are encroaching onto other property, you need a new survey. You don’t want to buy a problem or get shorted on what you thought you were buying. I know it seems like an “it won’t happen to me” situation, but it does happen—and you don’t want to be the one it happens to. Yes, a survey costs money, but it is a very low cost compared to the purchase price and the price of any legal problems with property lines. Knowing the precise boundary of your piece of East Texas paradise is priceless.
Lisa Priest doesn’t like random fences 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 BuyPalestine.com.