Understanding the Survey Plat

September 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A buyer should always get a new survey when purchasing any type of property, but it is especially important when purchasing a home. A survey is an official document done by a licensed surveyor that delineates the property boundaries (the lot lines) and diagrams where improvements like a home, swimming pool, garage, driveway, retaining walls, sheds or any other permanent building or fixtures are located on the property. The survey also shows recorded easements that could affect the use of the property. For example, there may be an easement for a gas or underground utility lines that runs through property. A homeowner could not build anything permanent in that easement. So, if a buyer was thinking of adding a pool in the backyard, and there was an easement running through it, the buyer would not be able to add the pool in that area.

A survey is also useful when a homeowner wants to add a fence or build any other improvements so that they correspond with the property lines. Structures built over the property lines could cause a boundary dispute with neighbors.

The title company that issues title insurance on the property will require a current survey that shows the improvements before issuing a title commitment. As part of a real estate purchase, the buyer contractually has a negotiated number of days after receiving the survey and the title commitment to make objections to encroachments or anything else that would affect the title or the use of the property. The lender reviews the title commitment and survey as well because the property is collateral for the loan. Both the title company and the lender must approve the survey.

At the bottom of the survey, there will be an official seal from the survey company that shows the date the survey was done. Flood zone information is also frequently found here too along with a description of the easements.

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