If you’re getting ready to buy property in Texas, you’ll need a property line survey. Property line surveys are meant to determine the exact boundaries of a parcel of land so there are no disputes or potentially overlapping property lines. Not only does this ensure you know exactly what you’re buying, but most lenders will require it before you get financing. Here’s what you need to know about property line surveys and how they’re conducted.
Is it always a requirement?
Property line surveys aren’t always required in every land purchase situation, but as a general rule, you will probably need one. Even if you have prior surveys in your possession, most mortgage companies require one performed in the last six months.
Even if you’re not purchasing land, surveys can be used for other purposes. For example, discovering the exact boundary lines is important for utility easements or deciding where to build a fence or other construction on your land. If there is any doubt, you could find yourself needing to tear down your structures and potentially rebuild them elsewhere—a huge expense that could be saved by getting a property line survey in Texas.
What if I already have a survey?
Unfortunately, even if you already have prior surveys, that doesn’t mean they’re accurate. Land surveying is an arcane science (and art) that relies on multiple documents, landmarks and survey markers to create a precise description. As science and technology improve, surveys become more precise. Depending on how old your land is, there may have been multiple surveys performed over the last two centuries—the older they are, the less likely they’re accurate. That’s because landmarks and survey markers can move or disappear over time, particularly if they’re survey pins, roads, trees and other non-permanent markers.
Is there an official database of property boundaries?
Many clients wonder if there’s some way to just find the property boundaries through an official database. Unfortunately, there isn’t—over the course of the last couple centuries, land descriptions and regulations have varied wildly. While deeds and title descriptions are recorded with the county recorder’s office, it’s not unusual to find that older pieces of land (that is, those that haven’t been sold in decades or longer) have very different, overlapping legal descriptions.
Again, the newer the development and the more recent the sale, the more likely previous surveys are correct—but there’s no guarantee. That’s why mortgage companies often require property line surveys in Texas before they’ll offer financing. They want to make sure there’s no property dispute that would jeopardize the sale or the value of the land. This may seem like a hassle, but it ultimately protects the buyer, seller and lender.
When you need a property line survey in Texas, get in touch with the team at D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc. We’re experienced with all types of property surveys. Whether you need a survey to buy property or you’d like topographic, gas and oil well surveying and more, we can help.