Real Estate Survey in Maryland and Virginia

ATTENTION HOME BUYERS. Have a survey performed when you purchase the home.
Make sure the title company or title attorney includes a property survey as a part of the title services they provide. While the cost of the survey will be added to your closing costs on Line 1302, this fee does not increase the cost of settlement. The title company will "pass through" this fee from the survey company. The title company should provide you with the cost of the survey before they order it.

Loan officers will often advise buyers that they do not need a survey. We disagree. Unless the seller has a copy of a recent survey that they can provide to you, we advise home buyers to have the title company order a survey. If there is any title defect, such as a fence over the lot line or other encroachment, a home buyer needs to be aware of this and make the decision of how to proceed.

If a neighbor is encroaching onto the property you're buying, you may want to contact them and make them aware of that fact. Or, if you are found to be buying a property with a fence/ shed, etc. that encroaches on a neighbor's property or on the property owned by an HOA or county/city/state, that's information you want to have prior to completing the sale.

Save your survey. Frame it. It's one of the most valuable documents you own.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Save your Survey. If you hire a fencing company in the future, the survey that you receive at settlement will help your fencing company.

The survey is more than just a pretty picture. It is a record of your boundaries. Save it. Your survey is also helpful to make sure you do not exceed the boundaries of your lot when installing fencing, sheds, patios or landscaping.

survey
Click image to enlarge
survey drawing

SAVE THE SURVEY YOU GET AT SETTLEMENT. IT WILL HELP YOU IN THE FUTURE IF THERE ARE DISPUTES ABOUT BOUNDARIES, IF YOU INSTALL FENCING AND WHEN YOU SELL.

What is the real estate survey??
The real estate survey, as used in the transfer of real estate in Maryland or Virginia, is a drawing showing the boundaries of a lot, the location and outline of the home or any other structures on the property, including the location of fences, easements and other characteristics of the property.

Who needs to have property surveyed??
Home buyers who are using mortgage financing to purchase their home. Most all lenders will require a drawing of the results of a survey prior to settlement. The title company or title attorney will order the survey, review the survey and render an opinion to the fact that the legal description on the deed accurately describes the property being transferred. Any additions, fencing, other structures will be shown on the drawing.

Why do we need a survey of property we are purchasing??
Surveys are helpful in the case of a claim against the property owner for encroachment because the survey will show the condition of the property and boundaries at the time the owner purchased. They also show utility easements which can save homeowners from damaging utility lines when installing additions or landscaping.

How will I use my survey??
Surveys obtained at purchase can usually be used for approximately 10 years to satisfy the county permitting office when obtaining a survey to install fencing.

Survey companies are licensed and adhere to a strict regimen of training and technical proficiency.

TYPES OF SURVEYS
There are several types of surveys in addition to the house survey you will receive when you purchase your home.

House location survey
Boundary survey (American Land Title Association)
Topographic or site map survey
Plot survey (subdivision/boundary alteration plots)
Construction survey
Elevation certification (e.g. for flood insurance)

If you need more than a house location survey, your lender may suggest it or your agent may suggest that, for your protection, you have more than the usual house location survey.

SURVEY OF PROPERTY WITH ACREAGE
Be prepared for a cost of $250-500 for a normal house location survey for properties up to an acre or so.. However, property with significant acreage will cost more. Be prepared to pay approximately per acre. A survey with a home and out buildings, barns, etc. and acreage of 10-15 acres could be in the range o $3,500.

Shop several companies for price.