The Importance of Survey

Posted on December 16, 2019 by Nancy Liu | Category: Real Estate

Several years ago, survey was a requirement from the lender for purchase transactions.  Now the Georgia law does not require the borrower to provide a survey before closing, lender seldom requires a survey done for purchase. However, survey, especially for the commercial real estate, is very important; it helps the buyer fully understands the property, and to avoid unexpected loss.

        The survey is a map which describes and exhibits your house and land boundaries.  It would also show any easement, improvements, boundaries lines on the property.  With the survey, you will clearly know whether your future home infringes the city or county plans and boundaries or the Homeowners Association Covenant, or whether it is in the flood zone. Survey would also show if there’s any encroachment on this property: such as neighbor’s fence built over the property line.  Some of us may think it is not necessary to get a survey when purchase a newly constructed property from the builder, since there should not be any encroachment issue.  Well, think again!  Infringements such as the over-boundary buildings and sewer and drainage system caused by the builder can often be found on the survey.  You as buyer could request the builder to provide you with a survey before closing, so you don’t have to hire surveyor yourself. 

         You may be wondering, why do I still need a survey when there’s a plat recorded in the county records for my subdivision?   Plat merely describes boundaries in terms of the lots of the subdivision, such as the boundaries for lot and homeowners association convent, water and sewer system and public roads.  The plat can not disclose all the boundaries between this and the neighboring property; plat cannot show all the easement, improvement and encroachment on a property.

         I think the following scenario will demonstrate just how important is having a survey. One of my clients wanted to purchase a parcel on the side of a road to build a house.  It has been a long time since the seller had done a survey on the parcel. My client asked a licensed Surveyor to do a survey for him.  As it turned out, the neighbor extended his house, and 1/3 of the extension was on the seller’s land.  The neighbor’s driveway also crosses on the parcel.  If my client bought the parcel, half of it would not be usable. After careful examination, my client decided not to buy this land, since it will take a long time for the seller to negotiate with the neighbor regarding the encroachment issues.  The survey saved my client from the headaches of dealing with the encroachment, and the thousands of dollars that would have beeen spent to purchase and built the house. 

          Therefore, if you intend to purchase a land or commercial real estate, remember to do a survey before closing to avoid the unexpected loss.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.