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The Survey

The survey is a rendering of the land and the structures built thereon. It looks like a small map. When a house is sold, the Bank will require that a survey be furnished. The Purchaser is the party responsible for supplying same to the Bank. If the Seller should have a survey that the Bank is willing to accept, the Purchaser will just have saved hundreds of dollars since a new survey costs between three and four hundred dollars while a survey inspection will cost less than one hundred dollars. The Purchaser ought to say “thank you” to the Seller.

The Purchaser’s attorney and the Bank will review the survey to see that it conforms to the property description and that there are no variations from record lines. They will also check to see that there are Certificates of Occupancy or Certificates of Completion for any structure erected on the property.

If the Seller has supplied a survey and there has been a change in the ‘footprint” of the house, in other words, if the picture on the survey does not match the way the house looks now, a new survey will probably be required by the bank. Attorneys for the Purchaser will always insist that a new survey, under those circumstances, shall be the expense of the Seller. However, I don’t agree. (Unless of course, I happen to represent the Purchaser. You have to give it a try!) Actually, whether the Seller needs to get a new survey in order to obtain required Certificates or not, the requirement for the survey in a purchase is one imposed by the lending institution and therefore the Purchaser has the burden of supplying one the Bank will accept. Even if the Seller has a brand new one, he is not bound by any theory of law I’ve ever heard of to give it to the Purchaser. Remember what I said in the beginning. If the Seller can supply one the Bank will accept, the Purchaser should thank him. It is not the Seller’s obligation to supply a survey, no matter what!

Sometimes there are minor variations with record lines. Shrubbery could have been planted or have grown much fuller and/or fences may have bee erected or removed. These usually will not create a problem, although an encroachment could create a problem in that property could be lost or the use of a portion of the property could be limited, under legal theories now as “adverse possession” and “creating an easement by prescription.”

In any event, no matter how obtained, once the survey has passed muster with the Bank, the transaction property will generally close within a week or so.

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