A detailed property survey is essential to find out important details about a house and the surrounding land that it sits on. A property survey clearly shows the boundaries of the property, the lot size and property description.

Property surveys: Six things you must know

A detailed property survey is essential to find out important details about a house and the surrounding land that it sits on. A property survey clearly shows the boundaries of the property, the lot size and property description.

You may wish to renovate the property, have the intention of developing it or purchase land. Whether you choose to build, renovate, develop, subdivide or change the land use, you will need to ascertain whether it is actually possible to do so and this is why an up-to-date property survey is essential.

Why purchasers should obtain a property survey before buying a home:

Purchasing property is a big, financial investment. Importantly, if you are purchasing property, you want to be satisfied that what is on the contract and title is actually the parcel you will be purchasing. A property owner must have accurate information about existing boundary lines. Making an assumption as to where boundary lines are drawn can result in significant disputes between neighbours, especially if one party unilaterally proceeds with renovations and extensions to a dwelling. An updated property survey could also bring to light any potential or ongoing ‘adverse possession’ claims, and particularly if they are persisting over a number of years.

Here are six key reasons why every purchaser should obtain a property survey before acquiring property, to protect their interests and financial investment:

  1. Boundary lines and corners
    A detailed property survey will eliminate disputes about boundary lines or property corners. By having access to precise property dimensions in a property survey, any issues, such as a driveway crossing over, can be readily determined and resolved.
  1. Fences and buildings
    Boundary line issues can result in conflict between neighbours about fences and building positioning. A property survey will mark the boundary line clearly and ensure there is no ambiguity as to the fence location and to whom it belongs.
  1. Zoning classification
    Different zoning allows for specific land uses to be conducted. There may also be overlays such as wildfire, heritage, vegetation and maximum land size for subdivision, building heights and plot ratio that will be identified in the property survey. These can limit the owner’s vision for the property, if they’re unaware of the zoning restrictions.
  1. Subdivision
    Investing in a property survey will determine whether any restrictions on subdividing exist or not.
  1. Underground cables and drains
    A property survey will show the location of underground utilities such as water, electricity, gas, telephone, drains, wires and cables. If these utilities fall under the property, then utility companies may need to use part of the land for line maintenance.
  1. Rights of way, easements and encumbrances
    A property survey will identify the rights for parties to walk across each other’s properties to get to their home. Encumbrances are also noted in a property survey and may highlight any (existing or prospective) claims or liabilities that affect the title of the property.

If you are a purchaser of a new home or you are in a dispute about the boundary lines of a property, contact Steven Dangerfield, Angela Catanzariti, Bojana Balen or Lynda Lim of Dangerfield Exley Lawyers for a frank discussion on your legal rights and options.

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