If you don’t know why and when you need a land survey, you’re not alone. Many aspiring homebuyers and current homeowners rarely give surveys a thought until they discover that they need one. Educating yourself about land surveys and their many uses will allow you to plan ahead and may help you avoid potential pitfalls at your property in the future.
Why and When You Need a Land Survey
As The Balance reports, a land survey is a professional drawing that outlines the boundaries of a piece of property and its notable features. Also called a property or location survey, these graphic representations of a piece of property include not only the borders of your lot but also the location and dimensions of any home, structures, or easements on it. A land survey may also note elevations and other topographical features and legal concerns like rights of way and easements. How do you know why and when you need a land survey? Keep reading to find out.
Why You Need a Land Survey
According to FindLaw, there are several reasons why you might need a land survey:
- Boundaries: In many cases, a homeowner’s beliefs regarding where a property’s borders are aren’t accurate. Pinpointing exactly where these legal boundaries are is essential before you build on the property or add features like a driveway or fence. If you don’t, you may find your work encroaches on the neighbor’s property and must be removed or redone.
- Gaps, Gores, and Overlaps: Surveys can help identify discrepancies in the borders between properties. This is particularly important if your property borders a roadway or alley.
- Existing Improvements: A survey includes information on existing buildings, alterations, improvements, and repairs and certifies that they do not violate any laws, ordinances, or restrictions at the time of the survey’s completion. If a violation is reported, it serves as notice of the problem.
- Access: A survey will detail the accepted access points that vehicles can use to enter and exit the property.
- Rights of Way and Easements: Surveys paint a picture of the legal requirements imposed on your property by prior agreements. For example, if your property lies between a neighboring property and a road, there may be a right of way or easement that guarantees your neighbor’s right to cross your property to reach the roadway.
- Party Walls and Joint Driveways: When shared features line a property’s border, you may have a legal responsibility to maintain them to protect nearby features on your neighbor’s side of the property line. A survey would show this.
- Cemeteries. In the past, private burial grounds were not uncommon in some areas. If such a feature is present, a survey will reveal it.
- Lines, Poles, Cables, and Pipes: Surveyors often gather information from local utility companies so that they can indicate the presences of aboveground lines and underground cables, pipes, and drains.
- Water Features: Bodies of surface water will appear on a survey. However, wetlands and underground water may not be accounted for.
- Zoning: A thorough survey will note the property’s zoning classification.
When You Need a Land Survey
When would you need a land survey? As Millionacres indicates, there are many times in the home-buying and home-owning processes when you might need a land survey. Prospective homebuyers often rely on a survey to paint a clear picture of what they’re buying. In some cases, it’s a requirement for their mortgage or title insurance. As for homeowners, they might need the information found in a survey to settle a property dispute or identify a lot’s borders before making improvements. A survey can also help locate easements, utilities, or other important features. In some cases, property owners simply want to make sure that they have a current land survey on hand.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer eager to set down roots, an experienced buyer looking to add to your real estate portfolio, or a homeowner interested in refinancing to fund renovations, PrimeLending Kansas City can help. With our expert insights and user-friendly guidance, we can help you choose the right loan product for your needs. Contact us today to get started.