When you’re ready to purchase your dream home, you might assume you’ll be able to put in that privacy fence you’ve always wanted or that in-ground pool you’ve dreamed of. But some homeowners find out too late that they can’t use their yard the way they want — because their yard isn’t theirs to do with as they please. It can be at the very least frustrating and oftentimes deeply disappointing.
What could prevent something like this happening? Many homeowners could be saved from these issues if they had simply arranged to have a location survey completed. Simply put, a house location survey is the only way someone can confirm basic information about a property. And getting a location survey before closing on a new property can inform a buyer about any discrepancies before they take ownership and find out they can’t use their property in the way they had hoped.
How does it work? A location survey, which costs several hundreds of dollars, specifies the location of the property as well as its proximity to the properties nearby. The process includes research, work in the field, computations and mapping. But more than that, a location survey examines any incongruities between the current use of the land and the description of record as well as any physical improvements that have been made and how they relate to the property boundaries.
A location survey requires a lot of work: a surveyor will dig through public records and files, do some work on the site to take measurements of improvements and then examine their findings with what exists in public record. In the end, they’ll draw up a plat that details any discrepancies as well as man-made qualities of the property, like drainage ditches and power poles.
Potential buyers should consider getting a location survey done before they buy a property. In addition, any home seller who wants to make their properties appealing to buyers should conduct a location survey before they put their property on the market. This lets potential buyers know that there will be no unwelcome surprises when it comes to property boundaries after closing. House location surveys are also recommended to property owners before planning any new construction and before modifying their property.
Most importantly, it’s essential a house location survey be read with the title report on the property, as the title report and house location survey are the foundation from which title insurance coverage is approved. When inconsistencies between the use of the land and the description of record exist, they need to be resolved before closing. Otherwise owners may be surprised to find an exception on their title insurance policy.
A location survey, done early, can help you rest assured that you will be able to put in that new pool or fence or garage that you’re planning. For sellers, it’s a smart move to sell your property seamlessly, and for buyers, it’s an important step in knowing you’re getting what you pay for.