Get a Survey Before You Close on a Property.

Posted By @ Sep 10th 2012 2:52pm In: Where in Mt Pleasant SC

Do you need a survey before you close on a new home ?

A lot of closing attorneys ( in SC,the law requires that an attorney close the purchase) will tell you that if the current seller has a survey, you don't need to spend the money on getting a new one.

photo of a surveyor in front of a house My theory is one should always get a new survey.

 Example #1
 The couple purchased a modular home that had a shed in the back yard.  Their Realtor suggested that they get a new survey--the lender  did require one and the attorney did not advise them to get a new one.

The husband makes wooden sculptures which he sells to supplement their income so the  shed was important.  The listing Realtor had shown them the property line which was a good ways back from the shed -- the listing Realtor did say that she was not positive but this is what the owners had told her.

They closed without a new survey -- they decided they wanted to increase the size of the shed -- the buyer wanted to make a large workshop so that he could make his wooden sculptures.

When the began construction on the expansion to the workshop, the owner of the adjacent land stopped by and told him that he was over the property line.

Being concerned that they were not sure exactly where the property line was, the decided to obtain a survey.

Bet you already guessed it --- the shed was over the property line --- not only the proposed expansion but the current shed was already over the property line.

The current shed had to be torn down and moved.  Now, had these buyers listened to their Realtor and gotten a survey, they would have known that the shed was over the property line and either they could have gotten the seller to move it or simple find a better property for their use.

This couple ended up spending more money than a survey would have cost.

Example # 2

Couple A purchases a vacant lot from the developer of a subdivision without getting survey.
Their Realtor did suggest that they get one, but the developer has a survey so they felt it would be a waste of money.

A builder was building a custom home on the adjacent lot.  One day the new owners (Couple A)  of the lot were out walking the lot and they noticed that the garage was really close or really maybe over the property line.

The new lot owners (Couple A) called their Realtor and together they walked off the lot only to discover that their lot was over 9' shorter than the plat that they had been given by the developer. This meant that the garage was a little over their property line.

What had happened was that the first surveyor had put the pin in the wrong spot---so the plat they had was correct --  but the adjacent lot thought they had 9' more because of where the pin had been put -- the lot needs to be re-surveyed and the pin placed in the correct spot -- but what to do about the garage?

A legal battle began --- a lot of stress, a lot of headaches and perhaps a lot of money.  Even if the developer pays for the new survey and all legal fees, who wants to go through all of that "mess". 

 Why have to go through all that turmoil and hassle --a new survey  prior to closing would have revealed the problem and this could have been settled prior to closing.

Do you believe me now?  If you are a Realtor, please do everything you can to get your buyers to hire a surveyor and if you are the public, please get yourself a new survey.

There are horror stories of a swimming pool being over a property line, the fence being over a property line, etc .

Mama Liz signature with pink ribbon in middle

Comments (2)

Annetta Powell says...
on 09/14/12

Hi Liz,

Your blog section of the site is really informative for both buyers and investors!

Tammy Cupp says...
on 09/10/12

Excellent information, thanks for sharing!

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