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I would say that most people who have gone through the real estate purchasing process are familiar with purchasing contingencies. They find their “dream property” and make an offer to purchase. If they are replacing their existing home they will typically want to make the purchase IF their current house sells. So they put a contingency into the contract that allows them to back out of the contract if their house does not sell. Sometimes there is a contingency for financing too so that if the lender will only finance the loan at say 18%, which may be unacceptable to the purchaser, they may back out of the contract too. But very rarely have I seen a contingency regarding what I consider one of the most important issues in purchasing real estate…A survey! Offers to purchase real estate should be contingent on receiving a current survey that is acceptable to the purchaser, lender, and the purchaser’s title insurance company.
I’ve Got this Pain…
What many people find out too late is that listening to anyone other than a surveyor about the location of boundary lines is like taking medical advice from the receptionist at the doctor’s office. Sure, the receptionist works in the doctor’s office, and I’m sure that the receptionist may have learned something about medicine over the years. But when it comes to health matters, I want to know what the doctor says!
Your Line is THERE. (Maybe…well, probably not.)
The importance of a survey when purchasing real property should not be understated. I think it is safe to say that the purchase of a home is the largest investment many people make in their lifetime. It amazes me how many times that I hear from clients after marking their property lines “THAT isn’t my property line, ‘so-and-so’ told me when I bought the house that my property line runs from the power pole in the backyard to the telephone box in the front yard…” or “along that fence,” or “along the hedge row.” Only to find out after the purchase that the property line is actually several feet closer to their house than “that line” or “the fence” or “the hedge row.”
The Real Pain
Without a survey it is very hard to know exactly what is being purchased. Not only does a survey show where the boundary lines are, but also the location of easements (rights of others over your property), encroachments (something that is beyond its proper limits e.g. a shed built 2′ over the property line,) and the relationship of improvements on the property to the boundary lines. In addition, without a survey there is an exception placed on the purchaser’s title insurance that exempts any coverage for issues that would have been shown with a survey. And that is the real pain, the purchaser didn’t get what they thought they were buying, the Realtor isn’t going to do anything about it, the Title Insurance Company isn’t going to do anything about it, and now the Surveyor just has bad news…The property line is where the property line is.
I sometimes wish that our surveys were called “Investment Insurance.” The price of a survey is small in comparison to the fee paid to the Realtor, very small compared to the price of the property being purchased, and a small investment to make in order to know EXACTLY what is being purchased.
We CAN help…
Give us a call, we will work with you to ensure that what you are buying is what you think you are buying! If you have already purchased a property, we can help you too. Being proactive can help you avoid real problems down the line. Bosshard Surveying, LLC 920-293-4001.
This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network