Do you survey SFH’s at purchase?

7 Replies

Question for the group... do you get a survey each time you buy a property? In my case I've purchased SFH's only and all were from wholesalers. We close via a title company and I've waived the survey each time. What do you do?

@Cole Raiford my first property I waived the survey. However, I used personal funds, no financing. But now that I’m pulling cash out, the bank is requiring a survey. They are also requiring a survey on a small multi family I’m financing.

So, I’m thinking you (we) only have the option of waiving if there is no financing involved.

I do recommend a survey for every property. Especially if there’s an unusual situation like a vacant lot adjacent to the property or if there’s any reason to think that an adjacent building, or your own, may be encroaching. The survey also typically shows if the property is in a flood plain, which may affect insurance costs and resale. In a subdivision with well defined lots and houses may not be as critical, but for the cost I would recommend it as part of your due diligence. 

For full disclosure, I only buy in Texas...but I always get a survey for peace of mind and for greater coverage on my title policy. I can't take the chance that there's an encroachment, or other survey matter that can cost me significantly to remedy.

While @Tom Gimer has some very sage advice here, I've never asked for a survey. I'm dealing with old urban areas with well-defined lot lines. I'm practically certain my neighbors are encroaching on my property in some cases. But I really don't care that much -- these are rental purchases. As long as my tenants can get in or out and I stay on positive terms with the neighbors, I'm happy enough.

If you're buying to flip, on the other hand, or you're buying places with sizeable/desirable lawns or gardens, you're going to want to make sure, and keeping the neighbors happy isn't as much a priority.

Surveys show more than lot lines (in fact, since most are location drawings which are only +/- 3ft, they can't be relied upon for boundaries). But they will show encroachments into easement areas, violations of setback lines, improperly positioned fences which may give adjacent owners rights, etc. 

Surveys pay for themselves: So, Mr. Seller your clearly un-permitted deck encroaches into the back alley... either move it or we're going to need a $1000 purchase price adjustment.