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What's a Survey Certificate and Why do I need one?
To many home buyers and sellers, one of the most interesting documents in a sale of a property is the survey certificate.  Along with the written "metes and bounds" description and the legal description, the survey also provides a drawing of the actual property.
The drawing is more properly called a "plan of survey", it is a drawing that shows the lot lines and size, as well as the "improvements" or buildings, fences and other man-made objects.  A survey is prepared by a licensed surveyor who will visit the property, take the measurements and guarantee their accuracy.
In a residential real estate transaction generally it is the responsibility of the buyer to obtain and pay for an updated survey.  If you are a buyer, I would encourage you to ask the seller for the existing survey certificate and the zoning memorandum if available.  If they are available and they are not too old they may be acceptable to your financing institution in which case you just saved some money. If the seller has owned the property for some time, or if recent improvements have been made, the seller's survey may be out of date in which case you may need a ... more

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