What is a Real Estate Survey?

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land surveyorA real estate survey (commonly called a property survey) is a document that details the boundaries and physical features of a property. In the United States, property surveys must be conducted by professional surveyors who are licensed in the state where the property is located.

What is the Purpose of a Property Survey?

Property surveys are done for a number of reasons. Usually, local laws require surveys to be completed whenever a property changes ownership. Additionally, mortgage lenders often require up-to-date surveys before approving home loans. When it comes to buying a home, the purpose of a real estate survey is to give everyone involved a clear picture of what is being purchased.

How do These Surveys Benefit Homeowners?

Real estate surveys can be useful to homeowners who wish to add improvements or outdoor buildings to their property. Without an updated real estate survey, homeowners could make costly construction mistakes – like erecting a fence outside their property’s boundaries.

By that same token, homeowners may presume that a piece of land or physical feature is owned and maintained by the city or county, when in reality, it falls within their property lines and therefore falls under their responsibility. For instance, a homeowner may not realize that they are responsible for maintaining a section of road behind their house.

With a detailed real estate survey, homeowners can asses the true limits of their property and avoid any unpleasant surprises.

FAQs About Property Surveying

Do I need to tell my neighbors when I have my property surveyed?

No. You’re not required to inform your neighbors; however, it might be a good idea to do so, especially if there are any disputes over land boundaries.

Do I need a survey to erect a fence?

Yes. A survey will allow you to know for sure where your property line ends. Because most fences are erected along a property line, you’ll want to be sure your fence does not encroach on your neighbor’s land. This can cause major problems later on.

How much does a property survey cost?

Property surveys vary in cost from region to region and from property to property. Factors that will most likely affect the cost include…

  • Condition and composition of terrain. (If the terrain is heavily wooded, includes bodies of water, or is on steep hills, it may make the process more complicated).
  • Ease of access to previous survey documents.
  • Ease of access to property ownership documents.
  • Travel time.

For more information, contact a professional land surveyor in your area.

Anna Platz is an Editor at ForTheBestRate.com, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to GoodCentsSavings.com, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at ForTheBestRate.com. My Google Profile+

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