Can anyone tell me what the house survey is for to buying a home? I heard in NJ it is required to obtain it

Asked by Jane, New York, NY Mon Jun 16, 2008

before closing, and it costs almost $700 to get it. Is it a hard thing to do to ask the seller give up theirs, just to change the title?
Cause my lawyer has no intention to ask for us.

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Gina Chirico, Agent, Fairfield, NJ
Mon Jun 16, 2008

Your lawyer has no intention of asking the seller to give you a copy of their's? Even if he does ask, you would still want a current survey of the property done for your own protection. Either way your lawyer should be ordering the title search and survey. The surveyor will draw a map that shows the property limits as well as where the house, garage, and other features, like boundary fences or walls, driveways and sheds are located. It also reveals easements such as power poles drainage ditches, sewer manholes, etc. This information is especially important if you or a neighboring property owner decides to put an addition on the house, put in a pool, etc. It can cost a lot more money in the longrun should you add an improvement and then realize you are over the property line. I know some buyers request that the property survey stakes be left in and that will cost you more money per stake. I don't know if that stakes left are really that necessary unless you actually need to see where the property lines end.

Good luck.

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate/Realtor
Prudential NJ Properties
973-239-7700 ext 132
973-715-1158 cell
4 votes
Cheng, , 08817
Wed Jun 18, 2008
Survey is a proof that there is such property and how big, what have in the property, and as you know, it could change. e.g. without a survey, a legal paper, in which a seller may sell you something does NOT exist. This often happen in remote purchasing.

For example, many years ago, my father's friend in Taiwan bought a land in FL that he never visit and only see the nice picture with Disney World nearby as claimed ...etc, and that legal paper sold him "something does NOT exist".

Lawyer is professional, just like doctor, they perform 100% fact, so a "current survey" by licensed surveyer is all the will believe. The seller may "forget" something change after they bought the property. e.g. My friend bought a house and later remove the swimming pool, and the buyer's banker in the office, never visit the property, how do they know if there is still a swimming pool or not?

So, in general, when you involved multiple parties, paper works is very important. House is not like a car that it is much easier to sell something either not exist or much lesser value than described. (even car is possible, like after sign the title, some bad sellers, often mechenics, would replace cheap tire with the luxury or stereo system with cheaper ones ...etc) This is also possible with buying a house.

I know many cases that before closing, the seller removes many fixtures (often builder professionals or construction contrators), and that often happen in For Sale By Owner case where there is no third party, such as realtor to prove. So last minute walk thru before closing is very important.

The Title search is a more "logical" than "physical" check. e.g. one seller could have sold the same house to "multiple" buyers... How do you know? It happens a lot in PA where legal checking is not very tight.
2 votes
Jeremy S. Hi…, , Cherry Hill, NJ
Mon Jun 16, 2008
Hello Jane,
A survey is required only if your mortgage and title company says so. For your own benefit you will want to know where your property lines are as well as be sure there are no encroachments on your property to be. The surveu shows on paper as well as literally on the property the meets and bounds of the property's boundaries
1 vote
Klowe1realtor, Home Buyer, Freehold, NJ
Mon Jan 8, 2018
The Survey is for the buyers protection/information. It shows the buyer exactly what they are purchasing. In NJ a survey can only be done by a licensed surveyor. The survey will show you the property boundaries, structures, any easements, set backs and potential encroachments. If you are getting a mortgage a lender will more than likely require you to get a survey. They want to know exactly what they are lending on. It is true some lenders will allow you to ask a seller for a copy of their survey (must be one with a raised seal no older then 10 years) and for the seller to sign an Affidavit of no change stating that their has been no change on the property. This action shifts a liability to the seller and can put them at risk. And you are then relying on the accuracy and honesty of the seller. Also title insurance may only cover older surveys as of the date of the survey. Anything that happened after that date may be not be covered as it is deemed an exception that the buyer accepted.

Surveyors also prepare a new written “meets and bounds” description of the location of the property. This description attaches to the deed, The deed is the key document that transfers title from the seller to the buyer. Don't you want to know what you are buying?

One last thing, If you intend to make improvements to the home, fence, pool additions etc. NJ towns will most likely require you to have a survey.

This is just informational and in no way considered legal advice. You should always seek legal advice from an attorney.

Kristina Lowe
Realtor - Howell NJ
0 votes
Vishal Maher…, , New Jersey
Fri Jan 2, 2015
Hi Jane,

There are two types of Surveys. One which is a full survey and another one is Survey Certification. You must speak with your lender on which one they require.
0 votes
stephaniela…, Other Pro, Rockaway, NJ
Thu Dec 4, 2014
A property survey is not always required. If it IS required, it is usually your lender/bank who wants it. They want to know what they are putting their money into. Also, the seller's survey does not always accommodate the lender's requirement because of its age. Most title companies in NJ will not accept a survey that is older than 10 years. The title company wants to know what they are insuring as well.
If you need a new survey done on your property, contact Stephanie or Joe at Lakeland Surveying, Inc. ph# 973-625-5670
0 votes
Cheng, , 08817
Thu Feb 5, 2009
Just curious, Jane, have you bought a house yet? If you do, where did you buy?
0 votes
Paul Howard, Agent, Cherry Hill, NJ
Mon Jun 30, 2008
The cost will depend on: The size of the property, where it is and whether or not you have markers set. (Do it).It could be more or less than $700.
Ask your Realtor to ask the seller's Realtor to provide you with one the seller has to update (as well as a legal description of the property from which the survey is drawn). That might make it cheaper. If it is new enough the prior survey company may be able to certify a prior survey to the new buyer and their mortgage/title co.
The mortgage company will require that the survey clause exception be removed from the title. The title company won't do that without an acceptable survey.

You may also need an original survey (with raised seal) if you do exterior work at the property. Ex: driveway, garage, addition...all require permits and to ensure proper setbacks the construction office may require you to provide them with a proper survey.

Paul Howard
0 votes
Angela , Agent, Williamstown, NJ
Tue Jun 17, 2008
Hi Jane,
Check with your mortgage company and title company first to see if they need a new survey. They may not require one or may accept an older one with an affidavit of no change - seller's stating no changes have been made since the survey was done.

I am not sure why your lawyer has no intention of asking for one? That is not a good thing. You can always ask your realtor to ask the other agent to get a copy from the seller's.

I do recommend that you have one and if you can get a new one done so that you know for sure where your property lines are and if there are any encroachments or other things you may need to know about.

Take care!
Angela "Angie" Allchin
Century 21 Rauh & Johns
856-582-0366 x 172
0 votes
Corey Grushin, Agent, East Brunswick, NJ
Tue Jun 17, 2008
Jane most times a survey is just a copy of one done a while back but the surveyor does come out to make sure no changes have occurred to the property, home and additional structures. The survey is for your own protection and it is usually required by the lender. You can ask the seller for a copy of their survey to use with your purchase as long as no changes have been made to the property, home and other structures. The survey has to have been done in the last 10 years and the sellers will have to sign a survey affidavit saying no changes have been made to the property since the survey was done. If your attorney refuses to ask the other side for a copy, you can ask your realtor to ask the sellers for a copy.
0 votes
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