Having a Survey Done When Buying a Home or Land


Buying a home or land is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and due diligence. While the process may seem overwhelming, one crucial step that should not be overlooked is getting a professional survey done. A property surveyor provides invaluable information about the boundaries, dimensions, and potential issues of the property. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of having a survey done when buying a home or land and how it can protect your investment and provide peace of mind. Do you need to get a property surveyed and what will a property survey cost are the two most common questions about  a survey when buying a home. What will a survey reveal apart from the boundary lines of the property? Can a survey also give you second thoughts when buying a home?

You Need A Survey To Understand The Property Boundaries

When purchasing a home or land, knowing the precise boundaries of the property is of paramount importance. Hiring a property or land surveyor is the most reliable and accurate method to determine the exact location of the property lines. Here's why understanding the property boundaries through a survey is crucial:

Resolving Boundary Disputes: Property boundary disputes with neighbors can be costly, stressful, and time-consuming. Such conflicts often arise when property owners are unaware of their property's exact boundaries or mistakenly encroach upon neighboring land. A survey conducted by a licensed professional helps prevent boundary disputes by providing a clear demarcation of where one property ends and the other begins. The surveyor will physically mark the corners of the property, leaving no room for ambiguity or misunderstanding. The survey cost could be a much less expensive option for your plot of land.


Protecting Your Investment:

A property is a significant investment, and ensuring that you know precisely what you are buying is essential. A survey confirms that the property's dimensions align with the legal description provided by the seller. It protects you from potential fraud or misrepresentation and ensures that you are getting exactly what you are paying for.

Avoiding Costly Mistakes:

Relying on outdated surveys or relying on visual estimations can lead to costly mistakes. Legal descriptions provided by previous owners or on outdated documents may not accurately represent the current state of the property. A new survey verifies that the information provided is up-to-date and that any changes to the property boundaries are reflected accurately.

Preventing Future Liabilities:

Without a survey, you may unknowingly encroach on your neighbor's property by constructing a fence, building a structure, or planting trees in the wrong place. If your actions infringe on their land, you could be held liable for damages, removal costs, and legal expenses. A survey protects you from these future liabilities by ensuring that you stay well within your property's boundaries.

Facilitating Future Development:

If you plan to make improvements or additions to the property in the future, such as constructing a new fence, building an addition to the house, or installing a swimming pool, knowing the exact boundaries is essential. A survey will indicate where you can build without violating zoning setbacks and where you need to be cautious to avoid any legal issues.


A Property Survey Helps Identify Encroachments and Easements

A survey reveals any encroachments or easements on the property. Encroachments occur when structures or improvements from neighboring properties cross into the property you are considering. Easements, on the other hand, grant specific rights to others to access or use parts of the property, such as utility companies. Identifying these issues in advance allows you to address them with the seller or reconsider your purchase if needed. 

Avoid Costly Legal Disputes When You Get A Property Survey

Obtaining a property survey is a proactive and prudent step that can help homeowners and property buyers avoid costly legal disputes. A property survey provides accurate information about the property's boundaries, easements, and potential encroachments, ensuring clarity and certainty in property ownership. By knowing precisely where the property lines lie, homeowners can prevent unintentional going onto neighboring land, which often leads to contentious boundary disputes and expensive legal battles. Additionally, a survey helps identify any existing issues, such as unpermitted structures or violations of zoning regulations, allowing homeowners to address them before they escalate into legal conflicts. Ultimately, investing in a property survey provides peace of mind, protects the property owner's rights, and helps foster positive relationships with neighbors, eliminating the potential for costly legal entanglements down the road. Always consult the advise of a real estate attorney and ask about title insurance.

Accurate Property Dimensions And Boundary Lines

Zoning regulations and building codes are essential aspects of local governance that dictate how land and properties can be used and developed within a specific area. When purchasing a home or land, ensuring zoning compliance is crucial for several reasons:

Legal Compliance:

Local zoning regulations are established to promote public safety, maintain property values, and preserve the character of neighborhoods. Ensuring zoning compliance is a legal requirement and failure to adhere to these regulations can lead to penalties, fines, and even legal actions against the property owner. By conducting a thorough survey, you can verify that the property meets all zoning requirements and avoids any potential legal issues.

Avoiding Costly Violations:

Non-compliance with zoning regulations can result in costly violations that may require modifications to the property or even demolition of unapproved structures. A survey allows you to identify any existing structures or improvements that may not comply with zoning regulations, enabling you to address these issues before finalizing the purchase.

Maximizing Property Potential:

Understanding the zoning regulations for the property is essential for future development or renovations. Zoning codes determine what can be built on the land, including the type of structures, height restrictions, setbacks from property lines, and permitted uses. A survey helps you understand the property's development potential and guides you on how to best use the land within the bounds of local zoning laws.

Assessing Feasibility for Future Projects:

If you have plans to add an extension, construct an outbuilding, or engage in other development projects on the property, a survey helps assess the feasibility of such plans. By knowing the property's boundaries and setbacks, you can determine if your desired projects comply with zoning regulations or if you need to seek special permits or variances.

Preserving Property Value:

Zoning compliance plays a significant role in maintaining property values within a neighborhood. Non-compliant properties or structures can negatively impact the value of neighboring homes and the overall aesthetics of the area. A survey ensures that the property adheres to zoning requirements, protecting your investment and preserving the value of the surrounding properties.

Smooth Permitting Process:

When seeking permits for new construction or renovations, local authorities will require documentation that demonstrates zoning compliance. A survey provides the necessary data to support your permit application, streamlining the approval process and reducing the likelihood of delays.

Negotiating Property Value After the Survey Is Done.

Having a survey done allows you to assess the property's true value based on its boundaries and any encumbrances. If the survey reveals issues that may affect the property's market value, you can negotiate with the seller for a fair price or request necessary repairs before closing the deal.


In conclusion, a property survey is a vital investment when buying a home or land. It provides essential information about property boundaries, encroachments, easements, and accurate dimensions, helping you make an informed decision and protect your investment. Avoiding boundary disputes, legal issues, and potential zoning violations ensures a smooth and stress-free ownership experience.

Always hire a licensed and experienced surveyor to conduct the survey, as their expertise and precision are crucial in providing reliable data. Remember, the cost of a survey is a small price to pay compared to the potential risks and expenses that may arise without one. By prioritizing a survey, you'll gain peace of mind, confidence in your purchase, and a clear understanding of your property's boundaries and potential for future development.

This post was written by David O'Doherty, a licensed real estate agent since 2007 helping buyers and sellers in Clayton, NC and the Greater Triangle Area of North Carolina. He is committed to providing his clients with exceptional service and personalized attention throughout every step of the real estate process. If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Clayton, NC, or the surrounding areas or have any questions about the local real estate market, don't hesitate to contact David O'Doherty today. Call or Text (919) 601-2268 or email [email protected]

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