Here's a question we often get asked by our Home Buyers:
“I’m already spending a LOT of money on my new home. Do I REALLY need to get a survey? My lender says they don’t require one. Is this is an area where I can save money by skipping it?”
We advise our Buyers to ALWAYS get a survey. Here's why:
1. Without a survey, you have no idea whether there are encroachments, easements and other sorts of things that may matter to you (like flood plains or cemetery easements!). For example, on a contract we settled earlier this month, the survey showed the fence on the property (and the hot tub!) was actually installed over the property line and in the common area of the townhouse community. So the backyard area was really not as big as it appeared to the buyer. AND if the buyer accepted it "as is," the Homeowner's Association could at some point require him to move it (at his expense!).
2. When you purchase title insurance, if you do not also purchase a survey, the insurance policy will not insure over these types of issues. Instead, there will be an exception to the policy for survey-related problems. So, if a problem arises later, you will not be covered. Don't be confused by lender's title insurance. Their policy (which only insures them — not you) may cover survey issues without a survey (or with the copy of an old survey), but that is only because of the volume of business they do. Individual buyers are NOT covered without a survey.
Our motto is "better safe than sorry," especially when it comes to your most precious financial investment: your home!
(If you still don't want to order a survey, we advise that you consult with your real estate attorney to discuss the full implications first!)
Contact The Belt Team at 703-242-3975 if you have other questions about buying a home in Northern Virginia. We are happy to schedule a FREE consultation to walk you through the process!