Title Topics: What is a Survey?

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A property survey will provide you with a bird’s eye view of your property. It shows the boundary lines of your lot, and details any encroachments between you and your neighbor’s property.  This map will also indicate any physical features of the property, such as: rivers, creeks, roadways, elevation, and even soil density. Surveys are performed during the original construction of the home and usually given to the buyer of a home at the time of purchase. If the survey is not provided, it might be found at the city planning department.

Why do you need a property survey?

The survey is an official record that can be used to determine ownership history and property lines. If you are interested in adding a fence, pool, or deck to your property, the survey will advise the boundaries in which you can make improvements to your property. If you do not abide by the boundaries of the survey when building an addition, and the structure is built partially on your neighbor’s property, it is called an encroachment. Surveys also indicate easements. Easements indicate the right of others to access certain areas of the property. For example, you may grant your neighbor the right to use a road that is on your private property and therefore, your neighbor has a non-possessive interest in the land.

How is a survey different from a property description?

The legal property description will be located on the deed to your property, on the title policy, and on your mortgage. It’s merely a description of the property, versus a detailed map that the survey
provides.
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