Hard to believe there was a time when Georgia law did not require the use of seat belts even though we all knew it was best to wear them to avoid serious personal injury or death. While Georgia law does not require a current survey of the land to be sold and purchased in order for the closing to proceed, a survey acts much in the same way as a seat belt against potential damage or injury when buying the land upon which your new home sits.
Very briefly, a plat of survey is the licensed surveyor’s drawing of your property’s boundary lines, improvements and any encroachments as of the date of survey. It is the best evidence of what is “on the ground” now.
Oftentimes people will say to me “This property is in a platted subdivision; I don’t need a survey.” Let’s peel back that onion. The plat you’re relying upon was recorded in 1972 or 1988 or 2002 or at some time prior to any homes being built, concrete driveways being poured, trees and shrubs being planted, fences being installed, irrigation lines being installed or out-buildings, compost bins or tree forts being erected. I use each of these as an example because in the thousands of closings I have handled over the years I have dealt with every one of these scenarios in a closing. Every item I just listed, which I think we can all agree are things that can be reasonably expected to exist in a neighborhood, was shown by a survey to encroach upon, or go over the boundary line of the neighbor, or sometimes from the neighboring property onto the property being bought and sold. How these encroachments are dealt with is usually a case by case basis and thus beyond the scope of this posting, but suffice it to say when discovered on the front end they can be dealt with to the satisfaction of the Buyer and Seller and it’s is a whole lot better outcome than when discovered 18 months after the Buyer has moved in and the next door neighbor whacks down a hedge of Red Tips or jackhammers the driveway.
The other objection I will sometimes hear is “But how much is this going to cost me?” Short answer - $500 give or take if it’s a standard sized lot in a developed area (acreage or property “out in the country” is a different kettle of fish). To avoid a long-winded stump speech on the value, I just ask people the following question – If this home is your largest asset, don’t you want to know exactly what you are buying?
The survey is not required by law; but how many other things in life do we do or not do irrespective of legal requirement and simply because it just makes good ol' plain sense?
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