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Why you might need a survey when you purchase a house

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Because a house might be one of your largest investments/assets, you need to be sure that what you're purchasing is accurate. Obtaining a survey map, made by a licensed land surveyor, can show the boundary lines of the property you are purchasing. The survey map that will reveal:

  • If there are rights of others to use your property through easements for utilities or rights-of-way.

  • The location of improvements such as buildings, fences, driveways, walkways, and swimming pools.

  • Potential encroachments that may cause disputes, such as a fence or driveway of a neighboring property that crossed the boundary line onto your property.

  • Whether or not the legal description correctly describes the property.

It is essential that you know the boundaries of your land before you buy it. A survey explains your purchase by revealing encroachments or other irregularities that might lead to future legal disputes. Also, if you are borrowing money for the mortgage, the lender may require the survey in order to protect their investment. They want to be sure that the land and buildings on which they are lending money correspond with the title documents that accompany the transaction.


You should protect your investment by ensuring you are building on your own property. A mislocated fence, driveway or carport can cause legal problems and extra construction costs.

Before you build, contract a licensed land surveyor to determine your property boundaries. The surveyor can work with you, the contractor and the municipality to ensure that whatever you intend to add to your land is constructed in the correct location, eliminating conflicts from improperly placed improvements.



New York State law only allows licensed land surveyors to prepare boundary surveys. They have met rigorous education and training requirements, as set by law, to protect the interests of consumers. In cases of property disputes, your surveyor can assist in resolving questions or misunderstandings regarding property locations. The licensed land surveyor can serve as an expert witness in court if legal action is pursued.

About the Author

Image of Leslie Sultan
Leslie Sultan Esq.

Leslie has been practicing law since 2009 and is the host of the estate planning podcast 'Legacy Purse'. She has a long history of representing family members struggling to inherit property and/or wealth from deceased family members through the Probate Courts. Knowing how time-consuming and expensive the probate process is, Leslie takes great pride in helping her clients learn how to plan and protect their families during their lives so they can avoid the probate court process and save their loved ones that additional grief (and expense).


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