If you’ve ever wondered where your property line ends and your neighbour’s begins, you might want to consider a property survey. But there are more reasons you might need a property survey and different kinds of surveys you can get.
So what exactly is a property survey?
In basic terms, a property survey defines what is and isn’t yours and there are lots of reasons you might need one. Are you planning on putting up a fence? You’ll want to know exactly where your property ends and the neighbour’s begins.
Property surveys are more common in rural areas (where land is being developed or rezoned) than in cities. Developers need property surveys to establish boundaries when developing new parcels of land, while identifying and confirming existing land boundaries. Depending on where you live, you might need to get a survey if you’re looking to buy a home. Some lenders and title companies will require you to send them a copy of the survey.
Where can I access my property survey?
The seller’s lender or title company, or the local tax assessor’s office may have it on file. If you’ve never seen a survey of your home as a homeowner, you might be able to find an older, outdated one on file at your local property records or engineering department. Or ask your neighbours where they got theirs.
So, what kind of property surveys are available?
There are land surveys to show the boundaries of a parcel of land, topographical surveys to show the plane and elevation, and monumentation surveys are done if you want to add a fence. As-built surveys, which determine property lines and include where improvements can be made, like driveways and sidewalks.
Mortgage surveys are basically as-built surveys that show property boundaries for an entire property that will be mortgaged. And there are floodplain surveys, which show flood hazard areas. If you need a property survey, make sure you are specific about why you need one done.
So, why are property surveys important?
Having a document that defines your property lines in an official capacity can help you avoid guesswork and ensure there are no encroachments on the property before closing, or when putting in a fence or pool.
Most surveys cost between $600-$1000.
So, do you need a property survey?
More often than not, all you’ll need is title insurance, but in some cases you might have your lender or title company requiring a survey. But, while it’s not always needed, it can be nice to know your precise boundary lines, especially if you’re closing or planning a major addition.