Do I need a survey to sell my land? Surveys - Hanging Tight With Your Transactions Post 2

Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 141871

Do I need a survey to sell my land? Surveys - Hanging Tight With Your Transactions Post 2



Let's talk about surveys. 

I've been told by some folks in other parts of the country that the topic of surveys just does not come up in a sale. 

It always comes up here in McCurtain County and in Choctaw County Oklahoma.  74743 74745 74764. For various reasons:

  • No Title Insurance without a survey. The Title Insurance company wants to know that there are not any encroachments on the property that could cause a title issue.  They also want to know that the home or other improvements have not been placed in any set-back areas that are in the covenants.  The survey or mortgage certificate gives the title company a visual of the property and drawn to scale.
  • Some properties in this area have NEVER been surveyed.  I had a gentleman call me recently about listing his property for sale.  It had been left to him by a family member.  Part of the land took in partials city blocks and part of it was unplatted.  Part of the unplatted property was out in the bottom of the city lake.  A lot of it was unusable boggy wetland growing in cattails.  It was all one piece and that's the way that he wanted to sell it.  The city streets on those blocks are crooked and it appears on a visual inspection that his property line might even cut through the middle of an existing house. Only two of the city streets had ever been laid and no lot lines visible on the lots in the block.  The property was grown up in thick brush, weeds, and trees to the point that you could not walk through it. 
  • I would not list the property without a survey being done first.  He didn't want to spend the money to get a survey yet he wanted top dollar for the land.  When I cannot show people where their property lines are, at least an approximate location, most people are not even going to make an offer.  In this situation, if a seller really wants to sell their property and they want it to bring the highest dollar the market will bear, they need to have a survey on the property with markers in the ground that can be found.
  • He listed with someone else at the price that I gave him if he did a survey and listed it.  The last I heard, no survey and cannot show people what they have for sale... it sits dead in the water, pun is intended. :)

Most of the time I don't require a survey prior to listing... if there are fences in place and the house doesn't appear to be too near the property line. BUT even then if there has never been one done, the seller in Southeast Oklahoma may as well get ready.

It's standard on the contract forms that the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission has available for use.  In fact, it's standard for the seller to supply a mortgage cert and if the buyer wants stakes in the ground, it is standard for the buyer then to pay for it.  BUT local surveyors charge the wame either way.  In fact, I've had more than one surveyor ask me what a mortgage cert was when I called them about doing one.

  • Another scenario - A stray deed in an abstract that has a typo in it, causing it's legal description to overlap slightly my seller's land.  This deed is out of place, the owner not being in the chain of title and yet this one stray deed gets picked up in the abstract because someone typed a W instead of an E. But the legal description also states "lying along the east side of highway 71".  The legal description on my seller's property does not indicate whether any of their property lies on the east side of highway 71.  The attorney that did the Title Opinion for the title insurance company required proof that none of the seller's property lies on the east side of the highway.  The survey took care of that.

SO, Sellers - As part of doing everything that you can to help your property bring top dollar, you need a survey.  If the property is already mortgaged, odds are you do have one.

Which brings up another curve in the discussion.  Some closers will use a survey that is a few years old and some will not.  Those that will not, require you to get your survey updated subsequent to the date on your contract. The reason being that the title insurance will only cover the property up to the date on the survey is what I was told by a closer (title insurance agent).   So ask questions and don't assume that just because you have a survey that you will not have to get another one. 

OK - time for my disclaimer.  I am not a surveyor.  I am not an attorney.  I do not sell Title Insurance.  But I can tell you from several years experience of working with real estate transactions in Southeast Oklahoma that if the property changes owners through the normal channels (agent, closer, title insurance), you are probably going to have to have a survey on the property.

More Hanging Tight With Your Transactions Posts"

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Surveyor Photo courtesy of Yaquina


Comments (5)

Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Never been surveyed?  Holy Cow.  Here surveys are usually only required when there is new construction involved, but personally I always recommend it and myself... would NEVER buy property I didn't get surveyed.

Aug 29, 2010 09:27 AM
Aaron Vaughn 830-358-0455
Conifer Builders LLC - Canyon Lake, TX
My knowledge is your power

Judi: The survey comes up on each transaction; the lenders will accept one 10 years old or less as long as NO NEW ENCROACHMENTS are on the property. Most HUDs and REOs don't have them available any longer so they need to be redone.

Aug 29, 2010 10:01 AM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

It's reassuring to learn that other areas deal with surveys on each and every transaction also.  I think a broker in Arizona was telling me that they hardly ever deal with a survey. 

Aug 29, 2010 11:57 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Judi I rarely run into a need for a survey around here.  The only time that I have seen it required has been when a red flag pops up in the Title Search and then a survey maybe required.  But most of the time the Attorney just goes off of the boundary descriptions that are already on record.

Aug 29, 2010 02:23 PM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Hi Everyone,

It's catch up day hopefully.. have just visited all of you to see what you've been up to on your blogs.  Enjoyed some great reads.

Thanks for coming by and reading about surveys in my "Hang Tight With Your Transactions" series.

Sep 04, 2010 12:22 AM