Savvy St. Louis Home Buyers Learn the Value of a Survey

Value of SurveyWhy You Should Order and Learn the Value of a Survey

I love you neighbor … but is your fence on my property?  Smart buyers learn the value of a survey usually when there’s a problem. When buying real estate what you see is not always what you are buying.  Recently, one of our home buyers asked us “Should We Order a Survey?”  We discussed why it is wise to have a survey, the two different types of surveys (boundary and spot) and the costs.  They wisely chose a boundary survey and when the results came back … they were glad that they did.  Continue reading to see what they found out …


What Is the Definition of a Survey?

The formal definition of a survey is to : determine the exact form, boundaries, position, extent, etc., of a tract of land, section of a country, etc.) by linear and angular measurements and the application of the principles of geometry and trigonometry.

Differences Between a Spot Survey and a Boundary Survey

A boundary survey identifies all corners of the property and in our opinion, provides the best coverage for the home buyer. It will show all of the fences and will point out anything that crosses the boundaries between the property you are buying and your neighbors. The corners of the property are permanently marked with iron rods placed in the ground.  These markers can become very important if you plan to install fencing in the future or any other structures near the property lines like patios, driveways, garage additions, etc.

The spot survey, though about $200-300 less, does not mark the corners of the property or show any fencing.  These days people are trying to save money, but when it comes to a purchase this big, you do not want to be penny wise but pound foolish.  The chart below will give you an example of what happened to one of our buyers.

Boundary Survey

Don’t let me lose you here by the graphic above! When we looked at this property the first time it looked like any other fenced yard where neighbors share fences. However, when the boundary survey came back (see above) we found that someone who owned the home in the past put up a fence in their yard 6 feet in from their property line. So they actually shrunk their own yard by 6 feet all the way around.  So you know how neighbors move in and out of a subdivision … so eventually, the neighbors figured they will just connect to the existing fence not realizing the real boundary lines!  Do you see the domino effect going on here?

What’s going to happen next?  Well, everyone involved are talking and we are confident there will be a resolution.  But the point is, if someone would have spent just a little bit more somewhere along the line,perhaps these neighbors would be talking about the Cardinals, heat waves, debt ceilings, etc., instead of what’s going to be happening with their existing fence in the future.  Meanwhile our buyers are happy they ordered a boundary survey.

P.S. I almost forgot. We recently heard the reason the owner, many years ago, made his yard smaller by putting the fence inside his property line  … he did not want to have to mow the lawn, Ha!

For other articles that help buyers see things they may not have noticed at first, see:

3 Reasons You Need a Property History Report

HUD Recommends Using an Exclusive Buyer Agent for Your Home Search

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