Do I Really Need a Property Survey


We are asked this question almost every week by our Atlanta home buyer clients and our response is always the same… YES!

Here’s a bit of background information on property surveys and how they can help save you from big issues during your homeownership….

Do I need a property survey on my new home?A survey of the property marks the corners and sets out the boundary lines of the property. It also shows easements, utility pipes, fences, walls and other potential encroachments, which may affect the property or the dwelling. A property / home survey will also show whether driveways are located completely within the boundary lines of the property. A survey will show whether the structures on the property encroach upon building lines or neighboring properties.

Most mortgage lenders no longer require a survey to be purchased as a part of the loan transaction as their risk from matters disclosed by a survey are now covered under the Lenders Title Insurance Policy. Because Lenders no longer require a survey, many Atlanta home buyers do not think they need a survey.  The reason that Lenders no longer require surveys is due to the fact that the lender’s title insurance policy now insures over survey risks to the Lender; therefore, any problem a survey would have shown is covered in a lender’s policy.

This is NOT TRUE for the home owner’s title insurance.

The enhanced owner’s policy does provide some survey coverage but is subject to a deductible and a maximum loss limit of $25,000. With a property survey, there are no limits on coverage.

Often, a home buyer may think that a title exam would reveal any problems and a survey is just redundant. Unfortunately, this is not the case. For example, a title exam may show the existence of a sewer easement, but it would not show that the easement runs directly through the house. Also, title examinations do not reveal fences, walls, and improvements that might sit on or over the property line or violations of building lines or encroachments onto neighboring property.

Generally, if you are in the process of buying a home in the Atlanta area, you should always request a survey on your new “nest.” Knowing the property lines will be a big help when it is time for you to make any improvements to your new home, like fencing, driveways, porches, etc. If a survey is obtained as part of the purchase and later a next-door neighbor puts up a fence on the purchaser’s property, then the Owner’s title policy would cover this because the property lines were conclusively established by the survey at closing.