When you buy real estate in Murphy and Western North Carolina, the question ought to arise whether you pay for a new survey. It doesn’t matter if you are purchasing vacant land, a home, or a commercial parcel; you’ll get many key advantages from a new survey if you choose to do it.
- Remarked lines – this is the most obvious advantage. As part of the survey, the surveyor will go through and mark the perimeter of your land. Common markers are yellow, orange, or pink ribbons on a tree, “blazes” where they hack the side of a tree and paint it with spray paint, iron rods, or fence posts.
- A “map” of your land – when complete, the surveyor will provide a plat of your land, which is a big map showing the dimensions, direction of lines, and more on the land. Want to see a sample of what you receive from a plat?
- Verification of any encroachments/structure locations – in determining and marking lines, the surveyor will discover if there is an encroachment by your property or from an adjoining parcel. For example, he might find the neighbor’s fence, house, shed, garden, retaining wall, etc. is on your property. Even worse, what if the house or garage you’re buying is partially or wholly on another property? While it may sound unlikely, we’ve seen entire houses built on the wrong parcel of land. Normally, it is a matter of locating and showing your structures on the survey map itself.
- Review of Right-of-ways/easements – if the property you are buying has a right-of-way to it or through it (or easement. They mean essentially the same thing, some folks interchange the words), it can be a good idea to verify the location of it. Some easement locations are extremely specific of where they are while others are beyond vague; it can be beneficial to make sure you have good access to reach your property or that an easement to another property through your property does not go through your buildings etc.
- Verify acreage – want to ensure the size of your land is accurate? The only accurate way is a new survey. If it hasn’t been surveyed in a long time, acreage can vary wildly. I’ve seen 50 acre parcels that were really 80 acres and 50 acre parcels that were really 34. If properties have been surveyed within the last decade or two, it is generally accurate and varies within 1/10th of an acre. The older it gets, the more it can be off.
- Title Insurance to include boundary coverage – when you obtain a new survey prior to a real estate closing, the attorney can add boundary coverage to your title insurance policy at no additional cost. This is a huge benefit, especially on larger tracts. For instance, what if a neighbor builds a shed on or stakes claim to a certain portion of your property? With boundary coverage, the title insurance company will step in and protect your interests. They will not do this without boundary coverage specifically covered in your policy. Because of that, be certain to prompt and verify with your attorney they have included it in your policy. They MUST send in a copy of the survey to the insurance company.
- A new deed description – sometimes this is a huge benefit while other times it is unnecessary. For instance, a home built in a subdivision created with in the last decade or two likely will not need a new description as the description is accurate. If you’re buying an “old” parcel that hasn’t been surveyed in a very long time, a survey is priceless. Some old deed descriptions literally have a description that goes to the “old hickory stump” then fifteen poles to a barb wire fence. Those definitely need a new survey to be able to accurately know where boundary lines are located and the true size of your acreage.
A quick story – I purchase a rental house in downtown Murphy and did not get a survey. Whoops. Turns out the last time it was surveyed, that I could find, was somewhere around 1960’s. The neighbor, who I was fortunate enough to know, pointed out to me the carport, which is attached to the house, was partially on his land. I immediately called a surveyor, had it surveyed, and sure enough! The neighbor was kind enough to deed a small <0.01 acre triangle to me to correct it. Had it not been him, I may not have been so lucky to have such a good resolution. Since then, I almost always get a survey when I buy a property.
What’s the approximate cost of a new survey? Every surveyor has a different price structure and every parcel of land is different so there is no normal pricing. As a general guidance, the minimum cost is $550 and can be in the thousands the larger the tract of land is. The only way to get a true quote is to send in the parcel info and have it quoted.
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Written By: John Poltrock, The Poltrock Team at RE/MAX in Murphy, NC 1-866-Murphy-NC