Home Buyers Guide to Property Surveys

If you’re preparing to buy a home, or if you’re searching for your next home, you’ve probably already planned for a home inspection, down payment costs, and other essentials, but you may not have considered the importance of a property survey? What is a property survey, and why exactly should home buyers get one?


Should home buyers get a property survey?

Every home buyer should invest in a property survey in order to have access to information which could affect your purchasing decision. For example, is the home or property you’re purchasing or considering purchasing located in a flood zone? You’ll need to ensure you qualify for affordable flood insurance in addition to considering mortgage payments and other monthly costs, since this will significantly impact the amount of money invested in your home each month.

>> READ MORE: When Do I Need a Property Survey?

Is the nextdoor neighbor’s fence located on the property you’re interested in buying? You may not mind the location of the fence now, but it’s important to know in case a boundary dispute arises in the future. These are just a couple of examples of how a property survey can help you make an informed decision regarding a large purchase like a home or property.

View of Fields from an Airplane

What is a spot survey, and how is it different from a property survey?

While a property survey is created using surveying tools which provide exact measurements, spot surveys are creating using a visual estimate of the location, dimensions, and shapes of structures and land formations. Spot surveys are reliable because they do not account for legal boundaries, flood zones, exact acreage, and other factors that require precise measurements and access to property records.

Is a property survey more accurate than a spot survey?

Property surveys are created using tools which can calculate precise measurements, so they are much more reliable than spot surveys which are based on one person’s best guess at where structures, landmarks, and other items are located. Spot surveys are not considered to be as reliable as property surveys in any form, but it’s worth noting that in boundary disputes and other legal matters, property surveys may be entered as evidence, but not spot surveys.

What property survey should I get?

What type of property survey you need depends on what type of property you are purchasing and your reasons for requesting it. If you are interested in learning more about the size of your property or if you want to know where boundaries lie, a general property survey will include the information you want. If your insurance company is requesting a property survey in order to provide a quote or home insurance, an elevation certificate providing information on the likelihood of flooding is also important.  

>> READ MORE: Do I Need an Elevation Certificate?

How much does a property survey cost?

The cost of a property survey depends on how large your property is. A surveyor will also take the time to research property records to find any evidence of boundary disputes and to learn more about the history of the property, all of which takes time and effort on their part. Many experienced surveyors can provide you with a quote on how much a survey will cost.


View of property from plane

Do You Need a Property Survey Even if Your Lender Has Already Paid for One?


Do your Due Diligence

You’ve likely heard the term due diligence during the process of buying a home or searching for your dream home, but what exactly does it mean?

What is due diligence?

Regarding real estate transactions, due diligence means you, as the owner, the buyer, the seller, etc. are doing everything you can to ensure you are gathering as much information as you can in order to make an informed purchasing decision.

What does doing your due diligence mean?

Due diligence may also refer to the act of ensuring you have provided accurate information to the best of your ability regarding any information you provide to a real estate agent or potential buyer. Failure to do your due diligence can land you in legal trouble if you neglect to disclose information that can affect a buyer’s decision, and it can also put you in a bad spot financially if you purchase a home or property without ensuring it’s a wise investment.

>> READ MORE: The $1.8 Million Dollar Mistake Which Could Have Been Prevented

How does a property survey help you do your due diligence?

If you’re a seller, hiring a licensed, experienced property surveyor can help you understand how valuable your property is to help you work with your real estate agent in setting a listing price. It can also help prove you are doing your part to ensure a buyer is being given any and all relevant information, including whether your neighbor is encroaching on your property; if there are oil, water, or mineral deposits on your property; and if any flooding is likely to occur. 

As a buyer, a property survey allows you to understand the risks involved with the purchase of a property. You may be okay with buying a farm if the neighbor’s fence is located slightly over the property line, but have you considered the dangers, not to mention the added expense, involved in owning a property located in a flood zone? 


Posted by Brian McMeans at 3:20 PM