Who Needs A Real Estate Survey? You Do, If You’re Buying Property
During the closing process, you may hear that your property needs to be surveyed. Many of us already know that a survey measures the boundaries of your home. That may seem a bit redundant or even useless—after all, there are no border disputes on the property, and nobody is arguing about where your property begins and ends. So why have a survey at all?
Surveys can reveal a number of things about the property you are buying—way more than just boundaries—although in many cases, the assumption that the current boundaries on your property are accurate, end up to be incorrect.
Real and False Boundaries
Many times people use or create “fake boundaries.” For example, they may assume that where someone’s hedges are built or where a fence ends is where the property line is. Little do they realize that those artificial boundaries are actually inaccurate.
If they turn out to be inaccurate, that can lead to other problems that you may need to fix before closing.
For example, if there is a lot of foliage or a fence that is dividing properties, and that dividing line is wrong, who will remove the fence or the shrubbery? Is it on your property, or is your property protruding on someone else’s property?
People often make additions to property, like adding docks or sheds or other structures, without regard to where their property actually ends. The survey will reveal if the addition is even allowed, and if it is legally on your property.
Sometimes the problem isn’t the actual boundaries, it’s the required setbacks. For example, a homeowners association or city code may say how far from the road your fence needs to be. There may be an addition to the property that is too close than what is legally allowed to the street. The survey will reveal these problems so they can be fixed before closing.
Utility easements may exist on the property. These easements may allow city workers or others, to access your property to get to power lines, underground plumbing, or other utilities. And before you say you don’t mind if that happens, often these easements may require that foliage be cut, or fences be taken down, or other structures be removed to allow access to the necessary easements. The survey will reveal these problems.
In some cases, your property is the only way to get to someone else’s property, or the only way to get to a public access area, like a park or a beach. There can be a right of way easement that allows the general public to cut right through your property.
If you live where there is nearby construction, there may even be a temporary easement for construction workers or equipment to access the construction site. If construction hasn’t begun, you may not even be aware that such an easement is going to be used.
Are you buying or selling property? We can help. Call a West Palm Beach real estate lawyer at The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today.