How does a land and property survey safeguard your investment?
While house hunting, the most common way people identify a home they like is by the address of the property. "How else would I identify my potential future home?!", you may be thinking. Prior to entering the surveying profession I thought the same way. However, if you really think about it, the property address says more about the geographic location of a property than actually "describing" the property's shape and size. The best way to understand the property you're interested in purchasing is to look into the Legal Description. This is a legal term that specifically describes a property's true identity. Legal descriptions can vary from simple 'lot and block' to complex 'meets and bounds' descriptions. In south Florida, or more specifically Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties we've seen all types of descriptions.
So, how does a property survey protect your investment? First of all, I think that most people would agree that protecting investments starts with our own willingness to educate ourselves on the investment we plan to make. In this case we're dealing with real estate. Therefore, when you're in the market to buy a home, a property survey is one of the fundamental ways you'll begin protecting your investment. This investment - for most people - happens to be where we build family, eat dinner, and unwind after a long day of work. So we should surely do our due diligence prior to signing a contract. Let me give you two real life scenarios to illustrate what I mean:
Property survey scenario 1
Let's say that John and Sarah fall in love with a home they saw while searching in an area they want to live in. According to their real estate agent, they're informed that the property is surrounded by beautiful wooden fences, and that's where the property limits are. They are also told that the square footage of the home is 2,400 feet. Since they are purchasing this home with cash, a property survey isn't required for closing. After a few months have passed that John and Sarah have moved into their home, John is interested in doing some home improvements. Upon taking a few measurements he believes that the square footage of his newly purchased home may not be exactly what he thought. He hires a local land surveyor to provide a survey of the property that includes the square footage of the building. Two issues arise once the survey is complete. First, the property survey reveals that on the east side of their home the wooden fence is inside of their property by three feet, meaning that they aren't taking advantage of 300 square feet of property they own. Second, the property survey depicts the building square footage as 2,200 feet. John and Sarah have not only discovered that their property limit is greater on one side of their property; but they have also realized that the square footage of the home is less than what they were told. John and Sarah paid a certain cost for their home based on the assumed square footage, which turns out to be less, which means they overpaid. John and Sarah are disappointed to say the least.
Property survey scenario 2
Now, see how differently the above illustrated scenario contrasts with this next one. John and Sarah find their dream home in the part of town they've been wanting to live. Prior to signing a contract with the seller, John hires a land surveyor to property survey their potentially new home. Once the property survey is complete the land surveyor and John meet to discuss his findings. The surveyor points out that the fence is shy of the eastern property line by three feet. Then, John notices the square footage. The realtor told him it is a 2,400 square foot home. However, the square footage shown on the survey says 2,200. John brings these issues to the seller, and the seller agrees to adjust the selling price according to the true square footage, as well as correct the location of the wooden fence. John and Sarah move into their new home excited to start their new chapter.
This article was originally posted on the Survey Pros Inc. website. Survey Pros provide professional services to those seeking a land surveyor Miami or property surveys South Florida.