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When you’re making an investment as substantial as a home, there’s a lot of research involved. One of the items on that long to-do list is a property survey. It may not seem like a big deal, but foregoing a professional property survey can lead to some disastrous results.
Read on for some basic information about property surveys, along with five times when they can be worth their weight in gold.
What does a property survey entail?
You can have your property surveyed at any time, but they are most commonly conducted when you’re buying a home or constructing something. Most mortgage companies require a property survey but it is not always legally required. Some mortgage companies will be satisfied with title insurance.
Property surveys begin with research into legal descriptions about the plot of land in question and its history. Then, the surveyor will go to the property and sketch out the land, its boundaries, and different elements that it comprises. This information is used to create a map detailing the property’s legal boundaries.
The survey will also include a written description of the property, the street address, the location of any buildings and adjacent properties, and any improvements that may be permissible by the homeowner. A property survey also notes things like right-of-ways and easements. These are also details regarding what to do with shared yards or driveways, or if your neighbor has a right of way to the street or alleyway between your homes.
Property surveys can be illuminating. Here are five examples of precarious situations in which having a property survey conducted could save you time, money, and headaches:
- Could an invisible hazard be lurking? It’s important to know what potential damage should be mitigated from the threat of sinkholes, floods, and other hazards, as well as the fair market value of the home. Examples include vulnerability to sinkholes (most common in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas), or if it’s in a flood risk zone (most common among coastal states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey).
- What about hidden easements? A survey could shed light on easements that weren’t obvious when you visited the property or took a virtual tour. For example, perhaps there’s evidence of a hiking pathway that extends through a portion of the land.
- Are things situated where they should be? As a buyer, you’ll want to know that fences and trees surrounding the property are in the right places. Maybe a neighbor has a gate, a fence, or a row of hedges placed just inside your future home’s boundaries, for instance.
- Does your zoning classification hold any surprises? You probably know whether your property is zoned for residential or commercial use. But you may be surprised to discover that its zone classification puts specific restrictions on how you use your property, such as accessory buildings, building setbacks from the streets and other boundaries; the size and height of constructed buildings; and the number of rooms permitted. These restrictions may also cover the frontage of lots; minimum lot area; front, rear, and side yards; and off-street parking, In areas of historic or cultural significance, zoning regulations may require that those features be preserved.
- What lies beneath? It’s critically important to understand where underground utilities exist, where you can safely dig, and where you can place shrubs, fences, a pool, walkway, patio, or other planned features.
A property survey is a smart safeguard for every potential homeowner. For more information about how it can protect your valuable real estate investment, please contact our helpful team of professionals.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for industry-leading reliability and an exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.
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