Home Buying 101 - What is a Survey
Why Do you Need One?
A survey in the State of Texas is a drawing of the property you are purchasing that shows the boundary lines, encroachments, improvements, etc. It is ordered through an Engineering company that does surveys, and is signed off on by an Engineer.
It is Very Important to get a survey prior to purchasing property in Texas to ensure you are getting what you are paying for. The survey shows exactly what you are purchasing according to plat maps that are on record. Usually a survey is given after you have a property under contract and in escrow.
Sometimes the Seller will furnish their survey along with a T-47 form that tells if they have made any changes to the property since their purchase. The Seller will then have the T-47 form notarized and provide it along with the survey to the buyer.
As a Buyer, it is good to do your due diligence when purchasing a home, and/or land in the State of Texas. When you are going through the buying process, you usually have inspections to ensure you understand what you are purchasing and if there are any defects in the home that you need to be aware of. Buyers need to do the same due diligence on the land they are purchasing as well, regardless if the land has improvements or is unimproved.
The Seller provides the Buyer with a Sellers Disclosure Notice, but the Buyer does a Home inspection, Roof inspection, A/C inspection, Termite inspection, Plumbing inspection, lead based paint inspection, electrical inspection, etc. Why would the Buyer not do the same due diligence with the land they are purchasing? It is better to find out prior to purchasing, then when you are getting ready to sell, that you do not own what you thought you did.
I personally recommend the Buyer receive a new survey after their option period. It is negotiable on who pays for the survey, but please get a new survey.
If, when you received the Sellers Disclosure, but did inspections anyway on the home, Do the same thing on the land. The Seller may have replaced a fence they forgot about or added something. Maybe the Sellers neighbor replaced the fence, and now it is on your property line. These are things you want to know prior to purchasing.
The best way, with the most accurate information for you to be able to make an informed decision, is to get a new survey. It will save you a lot of headache in the long run.
I was recently told by someone in the property tax office that people think they own something but they do not, and "it happens all the time." That is a direct quote. Don't let it happen to you!