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Why do I need a survey?

While the plat map attached to your preliminary title report will show the boundaries of the property, it will not show where the house is located on the property or whether there are any encroachments on the property (such as a neighbor’s  tree, driveway, or fence).
A plat map is a subdivision map prepared by developers when the tract of land and parcels were first created and will not show which easements on the property could affect legal title.

To make these determinations, you will need a survey.  A survey will show you exactly where the property lines are located and whether there are any building restrictions affecting your rights.  Having this information may be important if you have plans for adding a pool or a fence to the property, for example.  Apart from wanting a survey to determine the location of buildings and easements on the property, you may have plans to divide up the property at a later date.  Let’s say you are buying a house located on several acres of land.  You have determined that local zoning law allows you to split the property into individual parcels or lots.  If you think you may consider splitting the property at some later date, having a survey in hand will help you make those decisions when that time may come.

While surveys tend to be expensive, you can cut the cost down by asking the previous owner if there is an existing survey which you could look at, or asking for the previous surveyor’s name, so you can request that the old survey be up dated. You can also visit the official surveyor in the government land records office in your county, and ask one of the staff to help you with any boundary or easement questions you might have.

Most surveys do not include staking the corners of the property.  If you want this done, be sure to ask for this to be done at the time the survey is performed.

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