Those of you relocating to Austin from other parts of the country might not be familiar with the idea of getting a property survey as part of your purchase documentation. Invariably, usually because of the cost, the question arises whether or not you really need a survey when you buy a home in Austin? The simple answer is: Yes, absolutely! Here’s why.
What is a Survey?
A property survey is sketch map of a specific property – the one you are buying – showing its boundaries and other physical features like easements, potential encroachments and property setbacks. A residential property survey report also shows the relative location of a house, out-buildings, swimming pools, decks and fences on the property, and it usually includes the position of any public or municipal easements.
Do I Really Need a Survey?
These property surveys are performed for a variety of reasons, usually because the buyer’s lender requires it before making a loan and many title insurers as well. They may be required by local law or ordinance whenever property changes ownership. In the United States, property surveys must be performed by a professional surveyor (i.e. George Washington was a surveyor), who is licensed in the state where the property is located.
Get Your Own Survey – It’s Worth the Extra Money
Residential lot and acreage land surveys can range from the very simple to the highly complex. We always – and I do mean always – recommend that our buyer-clients obtain their own survey and not accept the seller’s old one. Even if a survey has been done in the past, lenders and title insurers will often require a more recent survey. In Texas, many buyers – attempting to hold down costs – will elect to use the previous survey from the sellers, but there are risks involved accepting an older survey. The most critical being the surveyor is only liable to the original homeowner to whom that survey was first issued.
Texas Law Does Not Require Seller to Allow Buyer to Use their Survey
Texas Law does not require a seller to allow a buyer the use of the seller’s existing survey for the purpose of closing the sale of their property. If the sellers agree to allow the buyers to use the existing survey, the sellers must sign and deliver a document (TAR Form #1907) that states that there have been no changes made to the property, and this form has to be notarized along with the old survey.
Seller Could Be Held Liable for Changes
Why is this problematic for sellers? The Texas Courts have declared that a Surveyor’s liability is limited to the customer to whom it provided the original survey The seller may be held liable for any errors on the survey they give to the potential buyers due to the fact they now have made the surveyor a third party to the transaction.
Buyers: Get Your Own Survey
Please don’t try to cut corners just to save a dollar. In the long run it may prove to be a very expensive short-cut. If you are the kind of person who – metaphorically speaking – likes to wear both a belt and suspenders when it comes to real estate matters, we do too. Let us help you.
Ready to Buy a Home in Austin?
We can help! We specialize in Home Buyer Representation and have helped hundreds of buyers over the years buy real estate. If you’re looking for a Realtor who will negotiate hard on your behalf and help guide you through the process, call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation. Remember, buyer representation is paid by the seller and it costs buyers nothing!
Hannah Schroeder says
I’m glad you said that clients should have their own land survey done even if one has been done in the past by the seller. My husband and I want to buy at least 50 acres because we want to raise horses, but we want to make sure that there aren’t any problems with the water that could cause health problems. The seller said a survey had already been done, but we should probably find someone who can do a more recent one.