Why do you need a survey? What is a survey? Who pays for the survey? When do I get a survey? When purchasing a new home everyone, including your mother has told you to “be sure and get a survey”, but you’re not sure why you need one or what it is exactly. While surveys are not typically required during a real estate transaction, they’re extremely useful for the transaction and can help clear up any confusion.

What is a survey? A survey is basically a map or drawing of the property that you are buying or refinancing. It will be done by a professional land surveyor who is a licensed individual. They will establish the official land, airspace and water boundaries on the subject property. It will contain the legal description of the property. If the property is urban, more than likely it will be located within a subdivision and will contain a Lot and Block description. This means that it will show what Lot your property is and what Block it is located on. If the property is rural, more than likely it will be acreage and contain a metes and bounds description.  A metes and bounds description is the property boundaries run out by courses and distances and monuments that are fixed at the corners or angles of the property. The survey will show the following:

  • Location of the improvements on the property such as a house, barn, pool or outbuildings.
  • Location of any easements or right of ways that are located on the property.
  • Building set back lines.
  • Flood zones

Why get a survey? There are many reasons a survey is a beneficial tool to have.

  • Settling property line disputes with a neighbor. An example of this could be if you have a neighbor that builds a new fence and actually places the new fence on your property instead of the property line or on their actual property.
  • A survey will show how large a plot of land is before it is sold. An example of this could be if you are buying an advertised large tract of land for a certain amount per acre and once the survey comes back it is discovered that the plot is smaller than what was advertised then the buyer could bargain accordingly and possibly get a lower sales price.
  • Building a new home or new structure on the property. When building a new improvement, you will want to make sure that you are not building it within the bounds of a flood zone, a building line, easements or across the property line onto adjacent property.

How much is a survey going to cost and how long will it take to prepare? The price of a survey can range from being several hundred dollars on up to several thousand dollars. It varies in price due to the size and complexity of the plot of land. These factors also determine the length of time it will take for the survey to be completed.

Who orders the survey? Sometimes your real estate agent will order the survey on your behalf or your lender may order it for you. If you already own the property and are wanting to obtain a new survey you can reach out to a local surveyor in your area.

If you are purchasing the survey for the purchase of a new property that title company will receive the survey once it is done. The title commitment will be revised to reflect the new survey and a copy of the new survey and revised title commitment will be sent to your lender. At closing you will receive the original copies of the survey for your new property. These will need to be kept in a safe place along with your other closing documents. If you have any questions about your survey please don’t hesitate to let us at Red River Title Company know, we are more than happy to answer any of your questions.