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Buying or Selling? Here’s why you need a survey (Even If It’s Not Required)

Whether you are buying or selling a home, having an up to date boundary survey can save you a lot of headaches and help expedite the sale process. In some cases, your realtor or broker will suggest you get a survey, but when it isn’t required, it may not come up at all. Getting ahead of the process and ensuring you have an accurate and current survey can be helpful and keep away unwanted surprises.  

Things to Consider When Selling:

Buyers like to know where the boundary lines are and having an up-to-date survey helps market the sale of your existing home. Before you list your property, make sure you have a boundary survey plan. 

Don’t have one? Give us a call and we can help! 

If you do, make sure you can check the following boxes:

  • The plan is recent and shows any existing improvements
  • All the boundary markers are visible
  • You or your real estate broker can walk the boundary lines with the prospective buyers

There are a few other items that may help the sales process. You want to make sure you: 

  • Have a title insurance policy
  • Have copies of your building permit(s), septic design and occupancy permit
  • Have done a water test recently if on a private water supply

Things to Consider When Buying:

Buying a home is like buying anything else; you want to be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, and that can include knowing where your property lines start and end. This can help you get ahead of any future disputes with neighbors about your boundary lines and be helpful if you ever want to build any additional structures. 

When buying, you want to get your lines in order as soon as possible and can start by:

  • Having an updated boundary survey completed prior to closing
  • Allowing plenty of time in the contingency for boundary surveying. Many times, 30 days is not enough!
  • Inquiring if there is a historic survey plan showing the property. This could be a good starting point for providing an updated survey.
  • Checking the zoning of the property if any change of the current use is being considered. Many uses are not allowed or restricted, including residential to business uses, short term rentals, home occupations, etc. 
  • Checking with the municipality if there are any known code/land use violations current or past. 

Also, keep in mind that a title search is not always enough. The title standards only require an attorney or abstractor to research a property back in time 40 years. We have found many instances of land being conveyed or some other burden on the land more than 40 years ago that severely impact the property being purchased. 

By making sure you have clear and distinct boundary lines whether buying or selling – and starting this process as soon as you can – you will save yourself a lot of stress. 

Still need a little bit of help getting started? Contact us and we can help you through the survey process.