When— And Why—to Order a Survey

When— And Why—to Order a Survey

As many home buyers learn, it’s not always clear where a property’s boundaries are, especially when the home has several acres or the property includes more than one parcel of land. In PA, a survey is not required for a home sale, and most sellers in our area have not had their property surveyed (though some may have obtained one before installing a fence).

Even though most home sales in this area proceed without a survey, that doesn’t mean you can’t make an offer contingent on one. If you want the right to terminate the sale if the boundaries differ from what you thought, you can elect the property-boundary contingency in the standard PA agreement of sale used by most area realtors. The contingency allows you to have the property surveyed, at your expense, within a time frame agreed to by you and the sellers.

Examples of cases where a survey would be particularly useful are when:

  • The home has several acres, and you need accurate information about boundary lines because you have specific plans for the land.
  • The home is on a large wooded lot, but the sellers have limited information about how far into the woods it extends and have never surveyed it.
  • The sellers think their land includes the stream nearby, but you don’t want to proceed with the purchase unless you can confirm that it does.
  • The home is on a property that includes more than one parcel of land.
Obtaining a survey is likely to take longer than the 10 to 15 days typically allowed for inspections, so be sure to include enough time in your offer. Assuming that the standard PA agreement of sale was used, the property-boundary contingency lets you terminate your sale if you aren’t satisfied with the survey results, as long as you do so within the relevant timeframes. If you’re happy with the results, you can proceed toward closing with more peace of mind.

Read more of Annette’s real estate articles for the latest real estate advice.

If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, contact Annette Nelson at (610) 247-7892 or annette@preferredhomes.com

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