When purchasing new construction, obtaining a new house survey is a given. But what about when buying a resale home? Is a survey still important? It’s common for a buyer to think that after a home has passed through a few owners, a valid survey must exist somewhere. The current homeowner might feel this way too, and look to close without a survey. However, commissioning a survey when buying a resale home is vitally important, and here’s why.

What Is a Survey?

A survey displays a home’s property lines, as well as everything else that runs through the property. Surveys can sometimes be quite revealing. For example, if you’re moving into a subdivision and your home backs up to a park or forest preserve, a survey will confirm whether the city has an easement on your property with which they can build a path or sidewalk through part of your backyard in order to provide public access. Another common discovery revealed by a survey is the presence of water lines under the property – water lines that the city might have to access at some point.

There are dozens of other things a survey illustrates, which is why it’s essential that a homeowner get a survey done before closing on a home. It may cost you a little time and a little money, but it’s far better to know everything upfront than get a nasty surprise six months after moving in.

Why Is a Survey Important For a Resale Home?

The thoughts offered in the previous section are just as applicable to a resale home as a new home. That’s because even though a home is a static asset (that is, it doesn’t move), things can still change over time. And it stands to reason that the more time passed between the present and the last time a survey was conducted, the more important it is to obtain a fresh survey. For example, if the resale home you want was built a half-century ago and that happens to be the last time a survey was commissioned, you’ll want a new one completed before you sign a contract.

What’s also important to know is not just what’s happened on the resale home’s property, but what’s changed regarding the surrounding property. Has a neighbor put on an addition, built a fence, or added a swimming pool? Have any of these new neighborhood features affected your property and/or property lines? Though it’s likely everything was done with the proper approvals and supervision, not asking for an updated property service opens the door to potential future hassles, i.e. when you decide to sell.

Connect with an Experienced Surveyor

Advance Surveying & Engineering in Minnetonka recommends that you play it safe. A new land boundary survey is another expense to budget for, but it’s one you’ll be happy you made. Even though your village or municipality may not require one, you’ll gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected against any future controversy. The more time that has passed, the higher the likelihood that inaccuracies or mistakes exist in the current survey.

For more information about surveys for residential and commercial properties, contact our surveying company in Minnesota. Our experienced team is happy to offer insights into making your project safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective.


September 15, 2018 Advance Surveying