By Brooke Chaplan
You believe you know the perimeters of your property, but you really don't unless you've had someone survey it and give you its exact measurements. You may see your property limitations if it's fenced off, but even that isn't a precise calculation. If you haven't legally surveyed the property, then you don't have its exact measurements.
It's always in the homeowner's best interest to get the help of a professional surveyor, also known as a professional land surveyor, to find the exact limitations of one's property. This process protects your interests in a variety of ways, whether it be a neighbor contesting your limitations, a feature coming under scrutiny or even when you want to sell the property.
What Is a Land or Property Survey?
A land survey measures the size of your property and determines where the boundaries are. It's a document that shows all property lines, including land, structures and features such as tree lines that you own. In some cases, land surveying even shows essential details such as where underground utility lines lay.
Surveys can help when you want to demonstrate your property visually for future buyers. However, a survey could also come in handy when you need to clear up issues you might have with neighbors for the city.
Here's how a property survey can help with many real estate issues—and how you can go about getting one:
Why Get a Property Survey?
Although you're not legally required to get a property survey to sell your house, it's often a good idea because you can show potential buyers exactly where the property line lies. Additionally, property surveys, whether you have a fence line or not, help add transparency to the home negotiation process. Thus, it's always in your best interest to get the property surveyed.
How Does Acreage Impact Property?
When you buy acreage, it's essential to have a survey because fences can be off by several feet toward your home, making your property smaller than what you originally bought.
By having the property surveyed before you buy it, you avoid issues like lawsuits because of boundary disputes, a process that can be very expensive and lengthy.
How Can a Survey Demonstrate Hazards?
Land surveying at the time of purchase can save a seller from getting into unknown issues in the future. For example, a survey will uncover sinkholes, which are underground water channels that can cause flooding or even collapse a home. Almost a quarter of the houses sold in states like Florida, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Alabama are at risk of being damaged or destroyed from sinkholes. A sinkhole developing on your property is a massive issue that can be avoided at the start of a sale.
Why Are Accurate Boundary Lines Important?
When you buy or sell a piece of real estate, the size of the property is recorded in the title and the title must concord with the measured property size. Sometimes neighbors accidentally plant a tree or build over the property line or fence, so a property survey will always confirm the actual boundaries of the property.
Where Can I Get a Property Survey?
Some states have property surveys as part of the public record, but others don't. You should first go to your Public Records Office to see if there's already a survey on the property. If there isn't one on public record, you'll need to do one yourself by hiring a land survey company.
It's important to understand a property thoroughly before you sell it. Detecting issues and assessing your property’s boundaries will help make the selling process much easier. Consider relying on professionals who are capable of giving an accurate survey.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger based in New Mexico. Her first passion is journalism, but she also loves hiking and gardening. Brooke recommends looking for a reputable land surveying professional when selling property. Find her on Twitter @BrookeChaplan and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/brooke.chaplan).