Land surveys are important when you sell or buy a house. It helps you know the full features of the land where a house stands. Think of the land type, size, and even the presence of underground utility lines, among other details.
Knowing these things is important for moving forward in a real estate transaction. First, lenders require such surveys for a buyer to get a mortgage and second, the top real estate agents always suggest land surveys to their selling or buying clients too. Land surveys even play a vital part for homeowners when planning to building something new or add an addition on a plot of land.
What to Know about Land Surveys when You Sell or Buy a House
In simple words, land surveys help people determine the features of a plot of land. It tells vital information about a land plot, such as the presence of water, the slope, type of soil, underground utility systems, etc. Also, it helps you know the exact boundaries of a parcel, which is important to avoid trespassing.
How a Land Survey Can Help Home Buyers, Sellers, and Owners
It Helps Determine the Boundaries of a Land Plot
This is probably the most common benefit that a land survey offers. It helps homeowners, sellers, and buyers determine the boundaries of a land plot. You can’t just point to the beginning and end of the plot or make assumptions. A land survey will help legally determine what is yours.
For homeowners, this helps with building fences, walls, and buildings, among other property features within your land plot. It also helps avoid conflicts since you don’t need to worry about going across your neighbor’s land line. Plus, it protects you when your neighbor steps over your boundaries as well.
On the other hand, buyers need a land survey to know more about the land plot of the property they’re eyeing. Lenders also require land surveys for mortgages to determine the right appraisal amount.
It Tells Useful Information about the Land Plot
Aside from the boundaries and size of the land plot, there are other details to know about a property before you buy a house. This information can affect the property developments that you plan.
For example, if you plan on digging a private well, you’ll need to know where the water is and much is present. A land survey will provide this information and determine whether or not your plans are even possible, no matter the project.
It Helps You Comply with Legalities
There are legal rules homeowners need to observe about land plots. One concerns the “right of way.” This rule applies when a property has a route of passage that benefits a particular person or other land parcel. Blocking this passage is wrong even if parts are on your property.
Moreover, a land survey can remind you about the boundary between your plot and a public road or highway. Your property use must never cross over such boundaries for you to avoid legal repercussions.
Lastly, you must not violate the zoning restrictions in your area as well. Zoning rules tell you that you can only build a home in a residential zone, a shop in a commercial zone, and a factory in an industrial zone, among other regulations. So, before you buy a house, make sure that the land plot is located where residential property is allowed.
It Tells You about the Past Establishments or Houses in the Plot
It is likely for a certain land plot to have a few past houses or establishments built on them. You want to make sure that these properties won’t cause you any problem as the current owner of the land area. A detailed land survey also comes in handy for such purposes.
For example, you’d know if there is an old cemetery in that piece of land. You wouldn’t want to be surprised by buried bones or coffins while in construction. Moreover, you may also hesitate to buy a land plot that is previously owned by a chemical factory because of soil contamination. Land surveys can reveal such issues.
It Helps You Comply with Mortgage Loan Requirements
As mentioned above, lenders require a land survey for the plot that their buyer client is eyeing. Lenders want to make sure that the use of such a particular piece of land doesn’t come with unnecessary issues. In such a situation, lenders demand a mortgage plot plan.
You don’t need to worry about finding a surveyor if you’re a buyer, however, since the lender will hire one for you. You’d just have to pay the survey cost in your closing fees. Lenders work with professional surveyors they trust to ensure the results are accurate and not tampered with.
Common Types of Land Surveys
After knowing the reasons for surveying a land plot, you should now know the different types of land surveys. These are helpful when you want to develop your property or when you want to buy a house.
1. Mortgage Plot Plan
As mentioned above, this is the land survey that lenders require when you want to buy a property. Generally, it circles on determining the boundaries of a land plot. It also involves knowing the distance of the floor area of the property from those boundaries.
2. Monumentation Surveys
This type of land survey helps you determine where to build fences and walls on the boundaries of your land plot that will not cross over onto your neighbor’s property.
3. Topographic Land Surveys
Topographic land surveys are about assessing the elevation of a plot. It involves measuring the slope, height, and size of a property, especially on a vertical viewpoint. This is important to comply with the building code, which is helpful when you’re planning to construct a home or building on a piece of land property.
4. As-Built Surveys
This type of survey is used to determine if there are ideal spots for constructing improvements. Think of driveways, private wells, septic tanks, and extra foundations for additions, among other developments.
5. Floodplain Surveys
This survey is important when talking about flood insurance. Why? Because it shows the risk of flooding to a certain land plot.
How to Find a Reliable Land Surveyor
Land surveys are indeed important and helpful. But to get the best and accurate results, you must find a reliable and professional surveyor for the job. You do not want to stumble on unnecessary problems because of unreliable surveyors after all.
To find a trusty surveyor, the best person to ask is your real estate agent. They probably know the best and most reliable surveyors operating in your locale. You can also talk with your title agent for some recommendations.
You can also search the web for some options. Narrow down your search by indicating your city and state. When you see some names of surveyors, verify if they belong to professional surveyor organizations in your state. This is easy to do since those organizations run official sites for you to check.
Then, consult with the surveyor that you’re most likely to hire. Tell them whether you want to improve your home, or if you’re looking to buy a house or land property. Ask them about the type of survey that you need, what you need to know about the land plot, their rates for the job, and how would they do the survey.
Land Surveys are Necessary if You want to Sell or Buy a House!
There you have it. These are the basic things you must know about land surveys. Of course, there are still more, especially when knowing about each type. But this guide should help you when deciding about having a survey on the land plot you own or want and don’t forget to ask your real estate agent for more info on a land survey before you improve or buy a house.
Featured photo by Justin Wei on Unsplash