Why You Should Conduct a Land Survey Before Purchasing Real Estate
April 18, 2023
By: Cook Surveying Engineer
before you buy a house

Don’t overlook the importance of doing a land survey before purchasing real estate. Learn why it’s essential and how you can avoid future problems with a quick and easy process.

Importance of Land Survey Before Purchasing Real Estate

If you are interested in purchasing real estate, simply finding a plot or house that you like and making an offer is the wrong way to go about it. Many people overlook the importance of doing a land survey before purchasing a piece of land, which can expose many potential issues that could be avoided otherwise.

Boundary Measurements and Property Features

A land surveyor can determine the boundary measurements to make sure that the plot of land actually matches what you believe you are buying. The land surveyor can tell you whether the trees, buildings, fences, sidewalks, driveways, and other features of the land actually lie on the property, and also whether anyone else’s buildings or other features are encroaching on the property you wish to buy.

Building Regulations, Wetland Regulations, and Zoning

The surveyor will also be familiar with building regulations, wetland regulations, and zoning. Land surveys are particularly helpful when purchasing a piece of real estate that you hope to build on, as they can catch potential problems before you purchase the land. If you are purchasing mountainous land, land that may be considered wetlands, or land in other areas that may be difficult to build on, a land surveyor can help you evaluate the possibilities for building upon the land. If you plan to develop the land or subdivide it, a survey can help you determine whether this is possible or even legal.

Importance of Hiring a Land Surveyor

It’s not wise to rely on an older land survey provided by the current landowner because it might not describe recent changes to the land, and in fact, might be otherwise inaccurate. The land surveyor you hire can place permanent markers on the corners of your property so the boundaries are clear.

Property Profile and Physical Visit

Before conducting a land survey, you may want to ask your real estate agent for a property profile, which will list the ownership information, legal description, plat map, tax information, and other characteristics. This is an excellent place to start when evaluating a potential real estate purchase. At least some of this information may also be available online. Be sure that you visit the property and walk the entire site, even if it is several acres, to see what it looks like with your own eyes.

Red Flags and Due Diligence

Having a land survey conducted before the land changes hands is simply due diligence. Do not rely on anyone else’s word, such as the landowner or a real estate agent’s, when purchasing land. This is a big purchase, and it should not be done unless you know exactly what you are buying. If you cannot get a land survey before placing a formal offer, at least have one done before the deal closes.

Resolution of Red Flags

The land surveyor will give you the best information possible to determine whether the piece of real estate will meet your needs. If any red flags come up, be sure that they are resolved to your satisfaction before closing on the property.

Small Lots and Potential Problems

You do not want to make the mistake of buying land that is of no use to you, or buying land that is not what you thought it was. Although it’s especially important to have a land survey conducted when you are buying large acreage or plan to develop the land, a land survey even for a small lot with a house can still catch potential problems before it’s too late.

Have any questions, give us a call here at Cook Surveying & Associates. (801) 364-4051

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