Many homebuyers will hire a professional surveyor before purchasing a new home. It is a good idea for homebuyers or existing homeowners who have never surveyed their property to hire a professional surveyor to locate the boundary lines of the property. A professional surveyor will show a homeowner exactly where his property begins and ends so as to avoid or settle common property disputes.
A survey will provide the owner with the exact description of his property and disclose any limits on his property rights, including:
- Boundary Lines: The survey will show whether any fences, driveways or additions are encroaching on your neighbor’s property. The survey will also allow the home owner to ensure that the legal description of the property is accurate.
- Existing Improvements: The survey will reveal which additions, improvements or repairs are compliant or non-compliance with local ordinances, if any.
- Zoning Restrictions: Existing zoning restrictions may limit how a homeowner may use his property.
- Utility Lines: The survey will show where underground cables and drains are under your property, if any. If these public cables and drains exist, the utility company may have the right to tell you how to maintain part of your property in order to protect the utility lines (i.e. when to trim your trees).
- Rights-of-Way, Easements, and Abandoned Roads: Survey will disclose any laws or private agreements that give others the right to walk across your property.
- Rights-of-Support: You may have a legal obligation to provide support to your neighbor’s land by maintaining an existing retaining wall in good condition, for example.
A survey merely provides a report or description of the property and any existing restrictions on the property owner’s use of that land. An experienced real estate attorney can tell you whether or not you are using your land in compliance with existing restrictions, or whether someone is illegally encroaching on your property.