Why To Survey Property Before Buying In Florida
In Florida, home buyers are not legally required to survey property before closing on their new home. However, doing so may prevent a number of significant costs and headaches later on. Particularly during the pandemic and with the scarcity of available housing in Florida, home buyers have been increasingly choosing to waive surveys and home inspections in order to make their bids more competitive. Unfortunately, many soon regret it.
What is a Survey?
A survey is conducted of the property by a surveyor licensed by the state of Florida. This survey outlines the boundaries of the property as well as any physical characteristics of the land, including improvements, easements, and utilities. Having a certified boundary report allows you to know exactly where the bounds of the property are as well as if anything is encroaching on them. It is very common for owners to be mistaken about where their property lines are. This can result in disputes between the new property owner and existing neighbors when the new owners try to put up a fence or landscaping where they believe the property boundary to be. Things can also get complicated when buyers unknowingly purchase a property with an existing easement on it. Conducting a survey like this prior to closing a real estate transaction ensures that the buyers know exactly what they are buying.
Benefits of a Survey
In addition to determining the exact physical boundaries of the property, a survey will also detail any improvements or structures on the land. This is important because it will also assess and determine whether any existing structures (such as fences, buildings, barns, etc.) are in compliance with all applicable state or federal laws. If structures were erected without a permit or the size of them places them outside of what is legally allowable, you do not want to pay extra for something that will place in you a position of potential legal liability, and for which you will be financially responsible for demolishing or repairing to bring it into compliance. You may be wondering why the location of utilities matter. However, if a Florida utility provider has a right of access to a utility located on your property, they can require you to pay to remove trees or limit additional improvements (such as extending the home or building a pool or deck). This can seriously impinge on homeowners plans for their new property, and can become a serious financial burden. Surveys can also reveal both obvious and hidden easements, by assessing the property as well as existing deeds and records. Easements can affect the usability, privacy, and saleability of the property, so it’s important to know about any that exist prior to making a decision about whether to purchase the property and how much to pay for it.
Talk to a Florida Real Estate Attorney
If you are buying or selling property, contact a West Palm Beach real estate attorney at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray and schedule a consultation today.