When someone purchases property in New Jersey, they generally have a land survey completed to determine exactly what they are purchasing. The survey report, which is provided in the form of a map, shows the location of the parcel of property, property size and any visible improvements. In NJ a land survey can only be done by a licensed Professional Land Surveyor, and it typically costs between $700 and $1000.
The land surveyor’s job is to locate the boundaries of the land described in the deed. The surveyor examines and records natural and man-made features. They also investigate recorded deeds and maps as well as information and documentation supplied by the owner or title company. The surveyor prepares a new written “meets and bounds” description of the location of the property which is then attached to the deed.
Land survey reports are extremely important when purchasing a new home. The survey map will show you the property boundaries, structures, easements, set-backs and potential encroachments on a property. It will allow you to see if any improvements such as driveways, fences, or dwellings encroach over property lines. It also shows any existing property corner markers found by the surveyor. The land survey report identifies the limits of the land you are buying and any conflicts in your deed.
In most cases, the buyer will be asked if they want property markers to be set where none currently exist. NJ state law requires that a land surveyor place permanent markers at all unmarked property corners. But you can sign a written waiver instructing the surveyor to bypass this step. Setting markers does cost extra. But keep in mind, placing markers helps identify the physical location of your property and may help avoid future disputes regarding the property.
Please note that if you plan to make any improvements to your new home, such as a new fence, a pool or an addition, most towns will require you to have a survey.
If you are getting a mortgage, your lender will probably require you to get a survey and title insurance. Title insurance will protect against claims to the property such as a disputed property line. Most mortgage lenders require a buyer to purchase a “Lender’s policy” which is a title insurance policy in the lender’s name. They will also require a “Survey Endorsement” to the loan policy to provide coverage against possible problems involving encroachments, easements and boundary disputes. To protect yourself as the home buyer, you should purchase an “Owner’s policy” with a “Survey Endorsement” based on your professionally prepared current land survey.
Some lenders may allow you to ask the seller of a property for a copy of their survey. Generally for it to be acceptable to the lender, it must be no older than 10 years and have a raised seal. The seller is often asked to sign an affidavit stating that there have been no changes to the property.
A professional land survey will help you protect your investment. By knowing the exact size, dimensions and location of your property, you can be assured that any changes you undertake will not cause any issues with the neighboring properties.
The Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group is a top producing real estate team based at Keller Williams MidTown Direct in Maplewood, NJ. We are local market experts, specializing in real estate and homes in Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn/Short Hills and West Orange, NJ and the surrounding towns. We are driven by earning great testimonials and referral business from happy clients. You can read our testimonials at www.azhomesnj.com/testimonials.