Sometimes it can be confusing for both buyers and sellers on why a property survey is necessary when selling or buying a home and which party is responsible for paying for the survey.
What is a Property Survey?
A survey is a document that shows exactly where the property lines begin and end. In addition to the boundary lines, a survey shows any easements on the property and where they are located. The survey also shows the location of any fence lines, any water or flood plain issues and any right of ways and access.
In Texas, it is a very common practice for the seller to provide their existing survey (if they have one) along with a notarized document to the new buyer.
I recommend that my buyer clients purchase a new survey even if there is an existing survey available because things can change over time.
Is a Property Survey really necessary?
A property survey is not always required to purchase the property. However, if you are the buyer, it is to your benefit to know exactly how much land you are paying for. There could be issues that only a surveyor will be able to find. Maybe there is a fence that is not between the boundary line of the adjoining properties. Or, the driveway or deck may be on part of the neighbor’s land. These are important things to know when you are buying a property. An existing survey may not show these types of issues.
Who Pays for the Property Survey?
The party that pays for it is the party that agrees to pay for it. I personally believe that it is a buyer’s fee. The seller likely paid for their existing survey when they originally purchased the home way back when. A buyer who accepts an old survey generally has no claim against the surveyor and that buyer must rely on the coverages in his or her title policy if a survey issue should come up.
I suggest that a buyer get a new survey rather than relying on an old survey. Now the surveyor is liable for any errors. The survey cost will vary depending upon the size of the property but it is a small price to pay to protect your investment.