home survey

Should You Get a Home Survey?

March 14, 2017 | Buying a Home | By: The Goodhart Group

Should You Get a Home Survey?

One of the questions you will likely be asked by your settlement company is whether or not you would like a survey (or sometimes known as a plat) of your new home. So, what’s a survey you ask? Good question.

What is a Survey?

Once the survey is ordered, a surveyor goes out to the property to compare the property lines and descriptions of its record to the physical improvements on the property. The surveyor will detail them by drawing to scale a plat of the property which will show an aerial view of:

  • all of the lot lines and structures (such as garage or shed) on your property,
  • any physical encroachments on your property (if neighbors have built a fence or other structure on your land)
  • anything of yours is encroaching on the neighbor’s land.

The surveyor will also note if there are any easements, set-back restrictions, or restrictive use covenants on your land. (For explanation of these items click here).

Now the bigger question: Should you get a home survey?

Is the Survey Worth it?

Home surveys are certainly not required by lenders or the home’s jurisdiction. Many buyers prefer to save the $400 (approximately) it costs.

However, the consequences of not knowing your boundaries or about any easements could have economic consequences down the line.

We feel it is worth the cost to understand everything you can about your new home. In this case, it’s so important to know the exact lot lines of your property, what land actually belongs to you, and what you are permitted to do, change or build on it! In older, more established areas like ours, what can look like your property line can actually be owned by the city or by a neighbor – even if there is a fence making it look like yours. Home surveys are especially critical if you are looking to build a shed, garage, or other structure on your property or if you were planning on removing or adding a fence.

So should you get the enhanced survey with corner monuments? Honestly, you can pass on this one! This term just means that the surveyor will leave little monuments marking the four corners of your property at the home so you can physically see them. These markers are unnecessary unless you are buying a large property and can always be added later if you would like them. So, in this case, you can go with the standard home survey option. Most title companies will assume you do not want to do the corner monuments as well to save you some money.

The Bottom Line

Get the survey. Skip the monuments. And as always, if you have questions on any part of the home buying process, please reach out. We are always happy to help!

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