By Chesley Payne
I am almost always asked if a survey is required when buying real property. Generally, my response is that yes, it’s usually a good idea to obtain a survey prior to buying any real property.
However, in some instances, it’s more important than others. If you’re buying acreage, a survey can provide a detailed drawing of your property and identify many problems prior to closing. Among these problems are the presence of buildings that aren’t contained within the boundary lines of your parcel, whether a fence on the property follows the boundary line, and whether the legal description of the property identifies a parcel in its entirety.
Like anything else, boundary lines can shift from owner to owner and unless a survey is performed, no one will be aware of the issue until you purchase the property and are stuck with an expensive issue. In purchasing a subdivided lot, there is less of a concern as to the legal description as the lot has already been subdivided and the subdivision plat have been recorded in the probate judge’s office. It can be helpful to ensure the house sits in its proper place on the lot and isn’t over any setback lines of record and that no structure on your property encroaches on the neighboring lot.
In short, a survey is generally a good idea when purchasing land. If you have doubts about the need or are running short of money, speak to an attorney of your choice in determining whether a survey is a good idea for your particular transaction.