A survey is a drawing prepared by a
registered land surveyor, after a physical inspection, that depicts the
property boundary lines, size and improvements, as well as set-back lines,
easements and encroachments. Specialty surveys also exist which show topography
and water flow, the elevation of any structures on a property in relation to
the maximum 100-year flood zone, and the location of any septic and drain
In preparing a survey, surveyors begin
at a fixed point and trace the border of the property using a metes and bounds
description. A metes and bounds description is comprised of numerical distances
measured in degrees, minutes and seconds combined with a directional calls,
such as Northeast or Southwest.
Surveys used to be a common lender
requirement for closing. Nowadays, lenders rarely require a survey. Even though
no longer required by lenders, obtaining a survey is still advisable.
Purchasers need a survey to become aware of any encroachment or violation that
currently exists on the property. Additionally, in order to make certain
improvements to the property, such as a fence or swimming pool, a buyer will
need to be aware of existing setback lines and easements.