What is a Survey?

Written by: Michelle Nelson

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A land survey is the process of measuring the dimensions of a particular area of land for the purposes of identifying boundaries and features to determine ownership.

WHAT IS A LAND SURVEY AND WHY YOU SHOULD BUY A NEW ONE?

What is a Survey?

A land survey is the process of measuring the dimensions of a particular area of land for the purposes of identifying boundaries and features to determine ownership.

What does a survey cover?

A survey can help you understand exactly what you own, where you may build or amend property and what easement rights other entities may have access to on your property.

Why you should buy a new survey?

In addition to defining the boundaries of the property surveys can track changes over time. Decks, sheds, and fences may have been added by property owners or neighbors that could have inadvertently crossed property lines. Old easements may be vacated and underground easements need to be known before permits for additions can be issued.

You also need a new survey if you wish to buy an extended title insurance policy. Most lenders require this coverage and the title company will require to see current easements and additions on the property so they can take exception to existing issues.

Easements and Permits

If you are planning to make additions or changes to your property after closing you will likely need to provide a survey to the municipality when seeking a construction permit. Property owners should also be aware of public and underground easements as to not cause trouble later. One such case was noted where a municipality had an easement on a portion of property to extend sewer lines to adjacent properties. The property owner unknowingly placed a shed on top of the easement and now that the adjacent property is being developed and the shed will need to be removed to allow access.

Transactions Without Surveys

Although a survey is an additional expense, it’s a crucial component of a landowner’s long-term ownership plan. Transferring a property without a new survey is taking a risk that your rights in the property may not be what you think they are. A new survey and subsequent title coverage will protect your investments.