What to Know About a Land Survey

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 01 December 2020 11:55
What You Should Know About Land Surveys What You Should Know About Land Surveys

Important Things to Understand About Land Surveying

Whether you are buying or selling property, it can be beneficial to have a land survey. A professional land surveyor will give you a lot more information about the property, its value, and what it offers.

But what is a property survey, and why should you get one? Let's investigate all the things you need to know about land surveys. When you are buying or selling a home, a land survey will become a vital part of completing the transaction. Lenders will not grant a mortgage without a property survey being performed. These land surveys are what is referred to as a "mortgage plot plan."

The buyer will receive this land survey document as part of their closing package when they officially become the property owner.

The Reasons Why you Should get a Land Survey

A property survey can be advantageous in many ways. It will give you an accurate assessment of the property’s boundaries, clearly define the location of structures, and provide information about any utilities and easements.

Information like this can be useful in many situations. It can resolve boundary disputes with neighbors, preventing fences from being built in the wrong place.

It can also show if the size of the lot is described accurately in the sales listing. As a buyer, this is important information that you can use to negotiate a lower purchase price if the area is smaller than described.

If you are building a new home or having upgrades constructed, a property survey will be necessary. It will help show that the construction is within building lines or helps find the best place to build on the lot.

The survey will show underground utilities on the property, as well as slopes that could affect the positioning of any buildings. If there is a right of way to neighboring properties or for utilities, this should show up in the surveyor’s report. This will affect where you can build on the lot, and knowing this in advance could save you a great deal of money in the long run.

The survey will also consider slopes and drainage to help assess if it is suitable for your intended use. For example, the survey will check to see if the land is in a floodplain, which could mean rethinking the choice of building lot.

A land surveyor will normally verify neighboring properties' boundaries to ensure that the correct information is in the official documents. There can sometimes be confusion over who owns part of a lot, and a survey will clear that up.

Lot Surveys Are Done With New Construction Too

A land survey is also done at multiple stages in the process of building a home. A developer will initially get a property survey done when trying to develop a piece of property. The survey will be used to see how feasible it will be to develop the land. They will mark out wetlands, where roads can potentially be constructed, drainage areas, sidewalk locations, among a myriad of other things.

The property survey will also provide the developer with how many lots they can reasonably expect to achieve from the land parcel. Once a subdivision is constructed, individual lots will also need surveying when transferred to a buyer. Even when you are getting a construction loan to build your own home, the lender will require a land survey.

How Do Land Surveyors Measure Lots?

Your surveyor will use the property deeds to find the dimensions of the lot. However, there can be problems with this information if it uses features on the lot that no longer exist. For example, a tree might have been used to define the boundary, but physical measurements will need to be taken if this has since been cut down.

When you hire a land surveyor, they use specialist equipment to make sure they get accurate results. They might employ GPS devices, 3D scanners, altimeters, theodolites, and optical measuring devices. All of this data will then be combined in a software program to provide an accurate assessment of the property.

When measuring your property's dimensions, the surveyor may well mark the boundary corners with metal rods. This is known as “monumentation,” and the rules can vary for how the boundaries are marked depending on the state you live in.

How Much Does a Property Survey Cost?

The cost to survey land will vary due to many factors. The more work the surveyor needs to do, the more likely it will cost you. For larger land areas involving more complexity, the surveyor will have more work that will take them more time.

For small parcels of land, the survey's cost could be as little as a few hundred dollars. Though, this might only be the case if you need the boundary marked on one side of your property.

If you need a full land survey with a greater complexity level, you can expect to pay $1,000 or more. First-time home buyers should understand that the cost of the land survey will be in their closing costs that the lender charges. It is one of many fees buyers will pay when purchasing their first house.

How to Find a Reliable Property Surveyor

You have to make sure that the land surveyor you hire will do a good job. If they make mistakes or miss out on utilities buried underground, there could be significant consequences. Mistakes like this could lead to problems during construction with utility piping being discovered unexpectedly, for example.

You can check the website of the National Society of Professional Surveyors for someone in your area. Their members will meet certain requirements of education and ethical standards and should provide a reliable service.

You might also try to speak with a local builder or real estate agent as they more than likely will have worked with reputable land surveyors in the past. If you don't know anyone to ask, you might also try doing a Google search for land surveyors near me or land surveyors nearby. You should get at least a few suggestions to try. Like any other contractor, it will be essential to vet anyone you plan on hiring.

Final Thoughts on Land Surveys

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it is crucial to have at least a basic understanding of how a land survey works. Remember that when your neighbor does a project near your boundary line, if they don't get a survey they potentially could encroach on your property. This can lead to disputes and an uncomfortable future relationship. It makes sense always to suggest a land survey when in doubt.

Hopefully, you have found this guide to property surveys useful.

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Bill Gassett

One of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last decade plus. Providing exceptional real estate services to buyers and sellers in the Metrowest Massachusetts area including the following communities: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

See my real estate website at Maximum Real Estate Exposure - one of the most visited real estate sites in Massachusetts.

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