Imagine a pilot flying an airplane with no GPS. Or imagine going to an unknown location with no map. How ridiculous does that sound? Irrespective of what you think, most people wouldn’t want to be in any of such scenarios.
Land surveys are the maps of a specified area. According to Wikipedia, land surveying is the technique, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or 3D positions of points and the distances and angles between them.
A land survey is usually the first step in a building process or home improvement project. It helps you know about the legal description of your property. Asides from helping you know precisely where your property begins and ends, a land survey tells you about the topography of your property.
A land survey is typically a prerequisite for a project that requires a planning permit. In this post, we explore the reasons land surveys are important.
- Easements and Rights of Way
Modern cities are usually marked by an abundance of infrastructure. To maintain these infrastructures, state workers sometimes have to stay on private property. It’s also possible that a parcel of private land blocks entry into another property.
Easements provide a person with the right to use another’s property for a specific purpose. Rights-of-way are special kinds of easements that grant the holder the right to travel over another’s property.
Easements are typically paths or roads that allows for more freedom of movement. A property survey will reveal any easements on the property you intend to purchase. That way, you know what part of your property you have to share access with.
- Preventing Encroachment and Adverse Possession
As a property owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you do not encroach on the properties of your neighbors and vice versa. An encroachment occurs when a property owner violates the right of neighboring properties.
Before you purchase a property, you have to ensure that no one has built on your property without permission. Similarly, before you put up a fence or extend your building, you have to ensure that it doesn’t encroach on your neighbor’s land. A land survey allows you to know the exact extent of your property and this helps to prevent encroachments down the line.
Adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a person to claim a property right in land owned by another. A land survey also lets you know of any adverse possession on a property.
- Marking Boundaries With Certainty
During estate development, land parcels are divided by permanent boundary markers. These markers are placed on a property’s corners to indicate the boundary. But sometimes, these markers get removed, damaged, or even covered up.
Without these markers, it’s impossible to tell the boundaries of your property and that increases the likelihood of an encroachment. Even with the absence of these permanent markers, a land survey will help outline the accurate boundary of your property.
- Meeting Legal Requirements
Many districts have legal requirements that require land surveys before certain projects or processes are allowed. For instance, if you are carrying out a major renovation that requires the extension of your building, you need a land survey before you can get your building permit approved.
Similarly, many lenders require a land survey before a mortgage can be granted. Asides from being a legal requirement, lenders also need one as part of their risk management process.
- Presence of Utilities
Whether it be pipes, poles, or manhole covers, several utilities may pass through your property. With a physical inspection, it’s easy to spot above-ground wires or utilities. But what about those that are underground? With a land survey, you have full access to this information.
This info is important for several reasons. First, a utility company might have an easement on your property. That means they have a right to use a portion of your property – and you have to know that beforehand.
Similarly, the presence of those utilities may limit what you can do on your property. For instance, you might have to keep your tree length within a certain limit, so the root system doesn’t affect underground utilities.
Furthermore, a land survey allows you to carry out excavation or construction on your property without disturbing underground utilities.
- Land History
The land you’re about to purchase might have been used for something you’re not cool with. For instance, maybe there is an old family burial ground in your backyard. You’d want to know where those are located, so you don’t mistakenly dig out someone’s grave. A land survey reveals the exact location of previous features on the property.
As you have read, land surveys are extremely important to the ongoing process involving land acquisition, development, and regulatory issues. This is precisely why you should get one before you purchase a property. If you have any other questions in the meantime, please reach out to us here for more information.