Saturday, February 02, 2013

good article on surveys

"The original surveyor did an incomplete recording the topography of the site. The house was built and the driveway as designed was found to be much steeper than the code allowed.  In addition, the surveyor neglected to include space for a 4% maximum grade at the garage to prevent cars from “bottoming out.”  Since the house was already constructed, the owner had no choice but to install a serpentine driveway that took up a large and unsightly portion of the front yard.  Could the owner have sued the surveyor?  Yes, but the original surveyor had no insurance.  The owner’s chances of recouping anything were slim and he was left with an unattractive and devalued property."   

In another example Hoffman cites, an inaccurate survey was used to build a house.  It was later found that the property lines were placed incorrectly and a corner of the site was located in the middle of a public roadway.  The owner wanted to take out a mortgage on his property but no bank would accept him as a result.  The owner had the option to wait for 3 years for the boundary lines to qualify as “pre-existing non-conforming” (something usually applicable to older properties), but the long wait wouldn’t guarantee he could still obtain favorable mortgage rates.  

We all have storied we can share about issues discovered by consumers when they have a survey done.  I wouldn't buy property without one and I would be careful when choosing a surveyor. Make certain you set expectations for the job before getting a price quote.  

For instance, in our region we have two competing surveyors.  One gives the consumer a full report including rights of way, setback lines, and even draws shrubs and trees.  The other does the outside boundary and locates the building but draws nothing else unless you ask him to and HE charges more than the thorough surveyor.


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