What is a Real Estate Survey?

A real estate survey shows all the easements, setback lines on the property.

There are two types of real estate survey:

Mortgage Location Survey

This survey shows the boundary lines for the parcel of land, any improvements, easements and building setback lines.

It also shows if any improvements (buildings, pool, shed, fence etc.) encroach over any easement, setback or property line and/or if any of the improvements on the neighboring property encroaches onto the parcel’s property boundary lines.

It will also show roads, lakes, streams, docks etc.

Stake Survey

A stake survey shows the same information as the mortgage location survey, but more accurately.

A stake survey is often required for later improvements, such as installing a fence or for deleting survey exceptions on the owner’s title insurance policy.

Mortgage lenders require surveys and will not accept a title policy that contains survey exceptions that are not shown on the public record but COULD be shown by a survey.

Exceptions also include rights or claims that are not on the public record but could be discovered by inspecting the property.

Surveys don’t just protect the Mortgage Lender

Imagine installing a fence, shed or even worse, a pool or patio only to discover that you could be forced to move it. Whoops!

Even if your neighbor tells you verbally that they have no problem with a small encroachment you may find your “verbal agreement is worth the paper it’s written on”.

For best protection, have a survey done of the easement, an attorney draw up a legal document granting you the easement, which should then be signed by your neighbor in front of a notary and then recorded.

The above is essential for major structures such as a pool, which could be very expensive to move. But if it is only a fence or a shed, and the encroachment is minor, then at the very least, put your agreement down in writing and have it witnessed. This method is NOT legally binding but does at least give you more protection than nothing. Please check with your attorney.