Buying a house is kind of scary, isn’t it? It’s a tremendous financial move on your part, quite a commitment, and there’s a lot of legal stuff to deal with. Property is something that is taken very seriously in most countries, and there is a lot of red tape involved. The question is, when should you have a homebuyers survey done?
Is it even important to have a house surveyor take a look at the house and property before you buy it? Should you do it after you buy it? If you haven’t bought a house before, and don’t work in the Realty business, these are legitimate questions that you simply don’t have answers to.
Well, I’m going to answer your questions today, and were going to start with discussing exactly what a survey is and what its purpose is.
What is a survey?
In its most general terminology, a survey is simply analyzing and noting the nature of something, and making a record of it. Have you ever been driving somewhere, and you see a couple guys in safety vests with tripods and what look like either laser cannons or telescopes and little flagpoles? These guys are surveying property. They are majoring, with great precision, exactly where property lines end, usually using corners or significant alterations in the boundaries as their guides and points of measurement.
They do this for private property as well, and you’re definitely going to want to have your property surveyed before you buy it.
With a survey, you know exactly where your property lines are. But, how do they know where the property lines are in the first place? Well, in modern times, when properties are laid out, small posts are buried in specific points along the property line. Given that most piece of property are a rectangular shape, at least in the United States and the UK, these little posts are buried in corners. They are tools that can find these, and then they will measure with literal laser precision exactly where your boundaries are, and will be able to give you a proper number for how big your property is as well.
But, why survey again?
Surely a house surveyor has looked at this property before. Obviously, there will be records of property lines, property sizes and so forth from well before there was even a house built on the lot. Even if the house is ancient, sometime in modern history, surely it has been surveyed. Well, over time, these things become inaccurate. Disputes, exchanges and other things between neighbors can result in property line shifting. Yes, this can legally happen.
The end result is that the numbers given to you and property lines presented to you when looking at a house may be inaccurate. You may be getting less property than you think, and then you are paying for. Sometimes, you may be getting more than you are paying for, and you can have an unpleasant surprise that way as well, the better to know going in than the find out later when you hear from an angry neighbor about something you planted on their property.
This is why you need a homebuyers survey before, and I do mean before you actually commit to buying the house. Obviously, only spend money on something like this when you are very serious about a specific house and property.