About Land Surveys About Land Surveys

When buying real estate, it can be tempting to forego a land survey, to cut back on what seems like an avoidable cost. However, a home survey can give you valuable information about the land you are buying to enable you to negotiate the asking price or withdraw from the transaction if necessary.

How Are House Surveys Completed?

Land surveys are done in two ways. There is the paper survey, otherwise known as a “desktop” investigation. This involves the land surveyor carrying out some investigations with various organizations so he can obtain documentation relating to the real estate.

Then there is the field survey, where the land surveyor will visit the property and walk the boundaries, making comments about the building itself and other matters he may find during his inspection.

What Will A Home Survey Cover?

  • Boundaries-one of the most important things a land survey will cover is the boundaries of the property. The surveyor will look at the deeds and make sure that they correspond with the situation on the ground. The report will point out any inconsistencies.

  • Planning Regulations and Building Codes-the surveyor will examine the relevant code for your area, taking into account your intended plans for the plot of land. He will point out inconsistencies in his report.

  • Topographical information-the surveyor will examine the topography of the land, and comment on the appropriateness or otherwise of the current or intended use.

  • Field survey-a field survey is important, as it may reveal rights over the property that are not apparent from the deed. For example, a neighbor might have created a gateway to the adjoining property.

  • Valuation-if instructed to do so, a surveyor will include a valuation in a house survey. This land estimate is a valuable tool if you want to renegotiate the price.

  • Building survey-the surveyor will examine the building itself, if you are buying one. One of the most valuable things about a land survey is the inspector’s comments about the quality of the construction and the materials used. Any imperfections can be used to renegotiate the price, as the surveyor will often give details of how much it will cost to put any problems right.

How Do I Go About Getting a Land Survey?

First, you have to choose a properly qualified licensed surveyor. It is a regulated profession with recognised quality standards. Pick a surveyor who is experienced in the area you intend to buy. So if you want to buy a beachside plot for construction, choose someone who is used to dealing with this kind of project.

Second, you must give clear and comprehensive instructions. If you plan to build on a plot, for example, make sure that the surveyor is aware of your intentions, and show him as many plans and specifications as you have available.

How Accurate Are Land Surveys?

Read the report carefully. You may find that the land survey is prefaced with a hefty disclaimer, meaning that you cannot rely on all of the surveyor’s conclusions. The report is only as accurate as the information available, so make sure that the realtor is cooperative in terms of giving the surveyor enough time to inspect the property.

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