Thursday, June 12, 2014

Do You Need to Get a Survey when Buying a House??

Mortgage Lenders in Georgia used to require Buyers to obtain a survey when purchasing a property, but most do not require a survey anymore as the lender's risk from matters disclosed in a survey are now covered by Lender's Tilte Insurance Policy (which the Buyer is required to pay for as part of their loan costs).  Since most lenders don't require a survey, Buyers often think they don't need one and should just save the (appx) $400-500 cost of a survey.

The survey is performed by professional surveyors who mark the corners and set out the boundary lines of the property.  The survey will also show easements. utility pipes, fences, walls and other potential encroachments which may affect the property or the dwelling.  A survey will show if the driveway of the property is within property lines and will also show if the building(s) is within the proper setbacks and does not encroach onto a neighboring property or that a neighboring property is not encroaching on the property you are buying. 

What is important for you as a Buyer to know is that while you have to buy Lender's Title Insurance to protect your lender (if you are getting a mortgage) from any risks that a survey would have shown, this is not true for the Owner's Title Insurance that you will also want to purchase at closing.  "An Enhanced Owner's Title Insurance Policy does provide some survey coverage but is subject to a deductible and a maximum loss limit of $25,000.  With a survey, there are no limits on coverage" say my friends at the real estate law firm of McMannamy, McLeod and Heller.

I recently represented a Buyer whose survey revealed that the neighbor's driveway came onto the property that they were buying by 3 feet.  Another Buyer I represented had a survey that revealed the presence of a city storm drain that ran underneath the house they were buying.  Another Buyer I represented had a survey that showed the neighbor's fence was 5 feet over the property line onto the Buyer's property!  

What if you were buying a home and you got a survey which showed the back corner of the house is too close or even over the property line or building setback line?? 

A survey will reveal potential issues with the property while it is still the Seller's problem! 

And, as always, I'm delighted to help you with buying or selling real estate in Atlanta.  Contact me at    


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