SHOULD WE OBTAIN A SURVEY?
Contributed by David Santos, Real Estate Attorney, Dodds & Hennessy, Charleston, SC
Many mortgage lenders have recently adopted a policy of not requiring a current as-built survey to be obtained in connection with their loan. They have adopted this policy because most title insurance companies have recently agreed to insure them (the lender) against loss or damage for matters which would have been disclosed by a survey of the property. Unfortunately, most title insurance companies have not agreed to provide owners with the same survey coverage unless a current survey is obtained.
The effect of this is the obtaining of a survey in connection with the purchase of your home is now optional at your risk. The cost of a residential subdivision survey generally runs between $300.00 and $500.00.
A survey is a drawing of your lot and the location on that lot of all improvements (i.e. the house, fences, sheds, etc.). The two most common "problems" revealed by a survey are: (1) The house violates the residential restrictions and/or zoning as a result of being too close to a property line; (2) Fences with neighbors encroach slightly onto one another’s properties. These "problems" tend to be minor and normally do not impact a person's decision to purchase the home. Occasionally, surveys do reveal significant matters, such as buildings or other structures being located inside easements or across property lines, which are matters which might impact a person's decision to purchase the home.
Another option is to attempt to locate a previous survey obtained in connection with a prior transaction involving the same property. If you rely on a prior survey that surveyor is not responsible to you for the accuracy of the information; however, when reviewed along with a physical visit to the property, it may give you a measure of comfort greater than simply closing without a survey.
Questions? Email David
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The Alan Donald Real Estate Team - Charleston and Mount Pleasant SC Real Estate