SURVEYS: DO YOU NEED ONE?
February 8, 2017 | Richard Sites
Surveys are an important part of the residential real estate transaction. Surveys determine the exact boundaries of the property you are considering buying.
When there is a lender involved, surveys are mandatory. In a cash transaction, a survey is optional but let’s take a look at the pros and cons of getting a survey.
Surveys for a Lender
When there is a mortgage lender involved in a residential real estate transaction, 2 things are required: A survey and an appraisal. Both of these items protect the lender’s investment in the property.
A survey determines the actual property lines and any encroachments or easements.
In the current FAR-BAR contract for residential real estate, if the current owner has a survey they have to provide it to the buyer within 5 days of the effective date of the contract. This means the buyer would simply need to have the old survey updated.
Surveys, whether old, new or updated, are a critical element in avoiding a lawsuit. For example, surveys can determine if a fence is actually installed on the correct parcel of property. A fence company may have just taken the owner’s word about the property line and could have installed it in the wrong place. Here’s another example:
In a sale I was involved in, the owner of a home also owned the vacant property next door. When he had a storage shed delivered and installed, it was actually installed over the property line on the vacant lot. When I sold the lot and the buyer had a survey done, it revealed the overage and the shed was moved.
If a homeowner has lived on a property for many years, they could have made many changes that would be revealed in a survey. Access easements would also be revealed in a survey. You could, in theory, buy a property which was part of a larger parcel that had been sub-divided. If you bought an interior lot, you might not have legal access to it.
A survey would reveal this.
How would you feel about buying a property that had no legal access to it?
Buyers who are paying cash obviously are not required to get a survey since there is not lender involved. But they should get one to protect themselves. If lenders do this to protect themselves, why wouldn’t you?
If you would like to have a conversation about getting your house house sold quickly and smoothly or need some help finding the right home, please contact me directly at 561.762.4073.