A land survey is a graphic depiction of a property, outlining its legal boundaries and other features like a fence, building, driveway, patio etc. Most of the time, title agencies and/or the lender will require a survey in order to issue title insurance and/or secure a loan. Surveys are usually performed just prior to the closing and range in price from $250-$1,000 depending on the size of the property, access and other variables.
In most cases, old surveys can be used again, if the old copy is legible, signed and sealed. It also must be accompanied by an affidavit from the existing owner that states that there have been “no changes to the property”. Please note that just because someone signs an affidavit, this does not necessarily mean it is true. It is recommended that you visually look at the survey and compare it to the actual property.
Last week, after some initial resistance from the title company (which often make a cut of the survey fee), we saved our client the $275 survey fee on a home purchase in Apopka, Florida. I would guesstimate over the last 5 years, we have saved clients an accumulative $10K in survey costs, not to mention other savings pertaining to closing costs.
Finally, keep in mind that if for some reason a new survey is required (Lender requires, seller can’t find, etc.), make sure flags that designate your boundaries are placed on the property as validation for the job done. I have heard of some survey companies who, if they have performed a survey for the subject property in the past, will look at aerial photos and just “recycle” the old survey at full cost.