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Kathy S. Koops GRI

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3 Reasons to Survey Your Property

filed under: Real Estate posted on August 17th, 2016

Cincinnati New Construction3 reasons to survey your property if you recently moved to one of the new neighborhoods sprouting all over the greater Cincinnati area.

New construction is wonderful!  Buyers move into a brand new home and not worry about cleaning up after the previous owners.  After moving in some new owners decide to install a fence or an electric fence and assume the lot lines are defined by differences in grass or 2 feet from driveway.  Realistically neither assumption is correct.

The builder surveyed the land prior to building in order to meet local zoning “setback” requirements.  But in most cases lot lines and boundaries were never marked.  After months (or years) of building and usually prior to the closing the landscaper does their best to lay sod or seed and straw the lawns.  Sometimes the neighbors have already built and the “lot lines” are easy to follow.  Often the landscaper does their best to eyeball the lot and landscapes accordingly.

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Unfortunately just because the neighbors already have grass doesn’t guarantee it’s within the legal lot lines.

As each home is completed and the new owners move in-they adjust to what appears to be the “legal lot lines”.  It’s not a conspiracy or somebody cheating somebody-it’s just the way home building works in greater Cincinnati.

In order to secure a mortgage, lenders order an appraisal of the property and unless something is obviously wrong, the appraisers don’t address property lines.  In the old days,the majority of the buyers requested a stake survey prior to closing. Stakes would be driven into the ground and marked.  Everybody knew where the location of the their lots.

Today, because buying habits and customs have changed, most new owners are guessing about lot lines.  6 months down the road when a fence is installed or irrigation system sunk and the next door neighbors discover boundaries may not be what they presumed.

3 reasons to survey your property:

  • Get what you paid for!  It’s better to know the correct property lines before you spend money on fencing or a pool only to find out you need to move the structures later.
  • Permits.  Most neighborhoods/areas require permits for fences and pools and reputable companies want surveys marking the boundaries.  Save yourself time and money by having the survey done prior to closing.
  • Encroachments (something is too close to the lot line) may cost you when you move.  If the buyer of your property has a stake survey and finds problems- as the seller it’s your responsibility to remove/move/fix any problems.

Every buyer should consider a stake survey prior to purchasing new or resale properties.  But realistically the cost and limited number of surveyors will limit the number of surveys completed before closing.  However buyers who know they’re going to install a fence, a pool and/or a retention wall should discuss having the survey as part of the purchase contract.

 

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