The Survey Process

a man wearing a hard hat is looking through a telescope

Buying a home is a convoluted process requiring guidance on both sides of the transaction.  Without a knowledgeable real estate professional, would-be homeowners can overlook important aspects of the deal. An important aspect not to overlook is they survey. It may seem like a small trifle not worth the time or upfront cost, but a survey is supremely important in helping buyers know exactly what they are closing on. In Maryland, you can either choose a location drawing which runs between $180-250 depending on the size of the property, or you can choose a boundary survey which is where the surveyor stakes the property corners and provides a location drawing.

Surveys measure precise property lines and memorialize these measurements on what is called a plat. The end product looks like a map, showing boundary lines, easements, encroachments, rights-of-way, and many other important factors related to the title of the property. With a title report, surveys provide buyers with the knowledge to either buy with confidence or find a more suitable piece of real estate.

The survey should be completed before new construction begins or immediately after the offer is signed.  If the house is a new construction home, buyers should not depend on the contractor to ensure the lot lines and zoning restrictions.  This can only be done through a survey conducted by a licensed surveyor.  The surveyor researches the property through the public records then goes to the location to measure the lot lines and physical construction of any buildings on the property.  They will compare their field measurements to their public record research and draw the plat.

This process is critical because the survey showcases any discrepancies on the property before the closing rather than the buyer discovering unpleasant developments after they’ve become the owner of record.  Maryland utilizes a location drawing to locate any possible encroachments, setback line violations and easements. The survey and title report ensure that the property is in compliance with local zoning and ordinance laws.  For instance, if the prospective buyer wants to build a new deck or patio in the backyard, a survey will show if a house is too close to the property line.

Lakeside Title is a full-service title company with expertise in all stages of the purchase process, and hires surveyors for buyers who choose this service. If you have questions about surveys or any other aspect of a real estate transaction, we would be happy to help. Call our expert team today!

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