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Why do you need to have a property survey done before buying a new property?

Why do you need to have a property survey done before buying a new property?

"Growing up, I've never imagined that those blueprints and survey documents were essential until I became a surveyor myself!"

The statement above came from a professional surveyor himself.

"What does a property survey entail?"

"Why do we need to survey our properties - land, buildings, houses?"

"Isn't it very costly? I don't need this! It's just an added expense for me."

These are some of the questions of the property owners. Let's dig in and find out the reasons why we need to pay for a property survey.

Finding Value

You won't be able to know the actual value of your property unless you check every detail, specifications, measurements, and all other information as shown in its technical description. All these are available after an actual property survey conducted by professionals. The property's boundary lines, legal description, easements, restrictions, elevations, hazard areas, and other features play a significant role because they will be the basis of the market value of your property. You can use these when you convey, sell, mortgage, pledge, or enter into any contractual obligations with another party.

Easements, Old Cemeteries, Abandoned Roads, Underground Waters, Restrictions

A property survey shows all the conditions and restrictions imposed by law. It will show all the information as provided on its public record. It can even provide information regarding agreements on easements (e.g., right of way). The exact location of old cemeteries and abandoned roads on your property is part of the survey. Professional inspections include underground waters and wetlands, underground cables and drains, gores, physical access, ingress, egress to open public streets, and zoning classification. It also includes restrictions on residential property or building (e.g., frontage, parking, height, bulk, dimension, etc.) All these are crucial before making specific improvements, construction, excavation, conveyance, or whatever legal transactions. Make sure that you are not against any law.

Dispute and Discrepancies

American jurisprudence proved the existence of property disputes, which started from the numerical and physical discrepancies manifested by overlaps, encroachments, distortions, gaps, incorrect boundary lines, or incorrect property lines. All these will be avoided or should have been avoided through an actual property survey conducted by legitimate professionals.

The boundary or property lines are critical pieces of data shown on a Boundary Line Certification. You will know whether or not your neighbors have bypassed your property or vice versa. You may have an obligation to pay for civil damages to your neighbor due to encroachment, or your next-door neighbor might have a responsibility to support your driveway. Before you even build a fence or improvements, better get a professional surveyor from a legitimate company to inspect your property. Better safe than sorry at all.

Avoid Fraud During Property Buying

Avoid a costly mistake when purchasing real property. Don't just rely on what a real estate agent or seller gives you. Check out all the legal information about the property. You can find it in the government office's land or property registry, or you can even ask a professional to inspect it for you. Check the legal description and the class of the property that you are trying to buy. You can find it on the property survey certification. You might be trying to buy a wrong lot or part of the public land, for all you know. Make sure that you purchase from a legitimate person and purchasing a legitimate property. There a lot of fraudulent transactions, especially nowadays that we are experiencing financial difficulties. So, beware and be aware!

Helps in Flood Insurance

When you purchase an insurance policy for your house, you are required to provide the documentary requirements, including your property's Elevation Certificate. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defined an Elevation Certificate as a document providing information about your house or the building's location, the lowest point of elevation, and the said property's location in a flood zone area. Hence, the Elevation Certificate helps determine the appropriate insurance rate, amortization, or the value of the property's flood insurance policy, unless otherwise stipulated by law.

Mortgage, Conveyance, Sale, Pledge, and Other Legal Transactions

Lending from a bank or other financial institutions will require you to provide security, which can be tangible or intangible property. You need to submit documentary requirements, including a mortgage survey. It verifies the legality of the property as legally described on the said survey. It will also determine your property's value and will be used to assess if it's enough or if it is suitable collateral to secure the obligation. When you sell, convey a property gratuitously or onerously, or enter into any credit transactions using your property - land or house, you will need a professional to inspect it on your behalf. You can either have it check for its value or its structural assessment or both. Thus, a survey is needed when entering into any legal transactions involving your land or house.

Risks and the Property Conditions

A property survey is critical in determining the risks and conditions of the property. A potential buyer will know if the property is at high risk for flood and earthquakes through an Elevation Certificate. The American Land Title Association (ALTA) Survey provides information regarding the property's improvement areas, easements, and other data. It has a direct impact on ownership. It shows how you can use the property. It also helps convince your title insurer to give the best coverage for the property's risks as it provides a detailed report, especially on the vital points of the said property. Hence, one will be able to prepare for whatever dangers and conditions came with the property upon purchase.

Due Diligence

A property survey is not just a walk in the park. It tells you all the information about your property. As a result, you need to exercise due diligence. Carefully research legitimate surveying companies in your area. Aside from that, after shortlisting the best ones, you need to compare their rates, pros, and cons. You can jot it down or create the list on your mobile device. Check out and compare the reviews. Do not rely on the reviews on their website. Instead, do your research. Choose not only the best one but the one who will work for your best interest.

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