Should I Get a Property Survey in Texas?

, May 4, 2023

When purchasing a property, it’s crucial to understand every aspect of the process and the property itself. One question that frequently arises for buyers is: should I get a property survey? While the answer can depend on a variety of factors, this article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of property surveys and their importance, with a focus on Texas.

What is a Property Survey?

A property survey is a detailed drawing of a property that shows the location of the home, other structures, and property lines. It reveals any encroachments or easements—rights others may have to use parts of your property. In Texas, a survey is not required by law when you buy a property, but your lender or title company may require one.

Importance of a Property Survey

Even if it’s not a requirement, there are several reasons why you might want to consider getting a property survey. Here are a few:

  • Avoid Disputes: A survey can help you avoid potential disputes with neighbors over property lines. Conflicts over land boundaries can lead to costly and time-consuming legal battles.
  • Discover Encroachments and Easements: The survey may reveal any easements or encroachments you weren’t aware of. Knowing these ahead of time can prevent future problems.
  • Detailed Record: A property survey provides a detailed record of your property for future reference, which can be helpful in planning any additions or modifications to the property.

Cost of a Property Survey

The cost of a survey can vary depending on the size and complexity of the property. It’s typically a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The cost is usually the buyer’s responsibility, but sometimes the seller may agree to pay for it as part of the negotiation process. It’s important to weigh the cost of a survey against the potential cost of property disputes or issues that might arise without one.

Using an Existing Survey

What if the seller already has a survey? It might not be necessary to commission a new one, depending on the age of the survey and whether there have been any changes to the property. However, your lender or title company might require a new survey, regardless of whether an existing one is available.

If the seller has a recent survey and there have been no changes to the property, the title company might accept a “survey affidavit”. This is a legal document where the seller confirms that no changes have been made to the property since the survey was done.

Condos and Property Surveys

When purchasing a condominium, a traditional survey is typically not necessary. Instead, you should receive a plat or map of the condo unit itself, which shows the boundaries and features of the unit. This should be included in the condominium documents, which also typically include information about the common areas, the rules and regulations of the condo association, and other key details.

Resolving Survey Problems

If you’re under contract to buy a home and a problem shows up on the survey, you have several options. You can negotiate with the seller, request a title resolution, cancel the purchase, or accept the issue, depending on the severity and impact of the problem.

Conclusion

While a property survey might not be a legal requirement in Texas, it’s often a crucial part of the home buying process. Whether it’s to satisfy your lender’s requirements, to uncover potential issues, or to ensure peace of mind, getting a property survey can be a wise investment. As always, consult with a real estate professional or attorney to make sure you’re making the best decisions for your situation.

Categories Real Estate How-Tos
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Last updated: 06/11/2023

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