How a Property Survey Protects Your Real Estate Investments

It doesn’t matter whether you are about to invest in a single-family home, a multi-family house, an apartment house, an office building, or a retail complex. When you sit down with a mortgage lender to discuss loan types and costs, you will probably learn that you will have to pay for a property survey.

At first glance, many people assume that the bank is simply adding an unnecessary charge to the loan costs. A typical response is, “The property hasn’t moved in the seven years that the seller owned it. Why is a survey necessary?”

Yet the fact is, surveys are necessary, and they can protect you in more ways that you might realize . . .

  • A survey can find something that a neighbor has done that could impact on your property’s title or value, such as installing a garage or a new driveway too close to your property line.
  • A survey can determine that the size of a lot has not been represented correctly. Yes, the seller told you that the property ends at a line of trees at the back of a property, or where some flags have been stuck in the ground. But only a survey will determine whether or not the seller is being honest in making those representations.
  • A survey can alert you to the presence of systems that could lower the value of a property, such as a sewer line that runs underground to service a neighboring property. Without a survey, you might not find out about those issues until you sell the property at some point in the future. And at that point, they can reduce the value of what you have to sell.
  • Although your mortgage lender will conduct a title search, surveys do sometimes uncover a title defect, meaning that the property as described, or part of it, actually belongs to another person or entity.

Property Surveys might seem like just one more thing that you have to pay for. But the protection they provide can be significant.


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