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What to Know About a Property Survey: See Why They're Important

By Bill Gassett | May 17, 2021

How Do Land Surveys Work?

Are you in need of getting a land survey done? You might have never thought about ever needing a land survey until recently. Is this something people need to go through? No, this is not a compulsory step. However, it is a beneficial, even money-saving, step.

Sometimes people get a survey done because they are interested in finding their property lines. Some of the most significant disputes among neighbors entail where the property boundaries are actually located, so it makes sense.

By the time you are done reading, you will have a much better handle on why you may want to have a land survey done either on your property or one you're considering purchasing.

Property survey
Why Are Property Surveys Important?

How to Know if a Land Survey is Necessary?

When is taking a land survey recommendable for you? Whenever you intend to sell and especially to purchase a piece of property with a land loan. Especially if you want to invest in land, the real value of your future property can be truly revealed by acquiring such a survey.

Your decision’s success and the right price can be forecast only if you make a thorough land survey. The same is valid when you sell properties. You want to provide valuable land, cash in the fair amount for it, and proceed with all documents in a simple, fast way.

Simply put, you should not engage in any land transactions whatsoever without contracting a professional land surveyor.

What The Land Survey Delivers

A land survey will bring you precious information about a property.

This information will provide precious elements, such as:

  • The exact area size, boundaries dimensions, and positioning.
  • The land profile, including any level changes, slopes, and other particularities that might influence any land use.
  • Everything that comes as an addition to the terrain (such as structures, buildings, landscaping elements) with their positioning data and sizes.
  • The position of any utilities and facilities.
  • The land’s quality: either it includes dry land, floodplain, forest, or any other type of vegetation occupying a specific portion of the respective property. This information becomes critical when there is a septic system that needs replacement due to a bad inspection.

What Does a Land Survey Involve

Before starting such an assessment on a specific land, prepare yourself to witness and supervise a professional complex activity. A property survey consists of the surveyor(s) making precise measurements with specific equipment, back and forth, all over the property.

The equipment we’re talking about sometimes varies, according to the land’s specificity. However, your surveyor will usually bring in the following:

  • Equipment measuring property’s angles: theodolite.
  • Equipment measuring property’s slopes: altimeter.
  • Electronic equipment for distance measurement and leveling.
  • Precision GPS, based on multiple satellite-positioning.
  • 3D scanner equipment that indicates the elevation differences.
  • Professional software that delivers reports based on multiple inputs and data.

Land Survey - One Solution to Many Issues

From the most obvious, simple issues to the more complex ones, there is no concern you might have regarding a property that a land survey won’t give you the appropriate solution for.

There is a potential issue concerning the exact land borders. The property survey provides the precise boundaries between properties. You will also want to know the exact land quality which a property survey will help answer.

Then there are the complex concerns regarding the appropriate land to match your specific purpose and intended use. In this case, you need to know very well all the land’s characteristics.

If your plans for this land are in the agricultural field, every single element, like the inclination, the North-South/East-West directions, the water springs underneath, etc., is an essential point in your decision. This is something that a land survey will thoroughly clarify.

On the contrary, if you invest in land to build a house or a more complex structure, some other details will become essential. Elements like slopes, floodplain/ sandy features, the location of general utilities (underneath or in the proximity) will all become obvious after a property survey.

Real Estate surveys are common contingencies in real estate contracts to ensure there are no encumbrance issues for home buyers.

This not only ensures your investment in the most appropriate piece of land but will also help you avoid any loss of money or time delays after starting the construction if you stop or modify your plans due to future unpleasant surprises.

Where Do You Find a Good Surveyor

As this process is such a valuable resource, you should only search for the best professional surveyors out there. Any error in identifying utility location (like electric wire, gas, water networks) or the underground water's position might translate into huge financial losses or even lose your future contracts and partnerships.

Thus, nothing can be left to chance. Go for the qualified land surveyors, experienced experts that already proved impeccable results. Usually, if you work with a real estate agency or a land consultant, they will give good recommendations in this area. Contract a certain land surveyor only after deep research.

Final Thoughts

Land surveys are vital parts of almost all land purchases. Not having a property survey done on a land purchase does not make much sense. The money spent is well worth the investment. Unless you are just acquiring excess land to be joined to your property, there would be no reason not to have a survey.

Hopefully, you have found this guide on some of the vital considerations with land surveys to be useful.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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