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When should I get a boundary survey?

 According to WV Code a "Boundary survey" means a survey, in which property lines and corners of a parcel of land have been established by a survey and a description of survey has been written and a plat has been prepared for the property.

  • Get a survey done if you are purchasing new property. You need to make sure that what you think you're buying is actually what you're buying. Don't rely totally on "hearsay" if there's no evidence. Most people wouldn't buy a used automobile without having a their "mechanic" check it out first. The purchase of land will be a larger investment and more long term than an automobile, too.
  • Get a survey done if you are constructing anything new on your property. Most zoning ordinances and codes will specify a required setback from your property line. If you don't know precisely where your property line is, you won't be able to adhere to this regulation.
  • Get a survey done if you are selling or dividing your property. Having a current survey recorded will greatly improve the marketability of your home. Buyers will be more confident in their purchase if you give them an accurate description of what they are actually getting and have physical evidence to match.
  • Get a survey done if you need to verify the acreage of your property for tax assessment. Combining your adjoining tracts into one tract, with a current survey, could lower your taxes.
  • Get a survey done if your neighbor starts building anything new. If you suspect your neighbor is encroaching on your property or violating setback regulations, you may need a survey done to verify these actions. Most attorneys will need a plat of your property showing the encroachments before proceeding with any legal actions. Keep in mind, that all boundary dispute cases that are not resolved outside of court, either by the two parties involved, a survey, an attorney or a mediator, are reliant on a judge's decision and court "battles" are very costly.

Why should I have a survey done?

  • When purchasing a new piece of property it's not always wise to assume that the property description's measurements and angles are completely accurate, or have a reasonable closure, without proper evidence. Many times without a recent survey people rely on what they have been told, only to find the information is not correct.
  • You built a building or house without a survey, a new neighbor has a survey done only to find that it sets on their property. This could result in a great deal of unexpected financial loss to you with little recourse.
  • At the time of purchase you may have title insurance coverage. This policy may only cover the homeowner for guarantee of clear title. That is to say there should be deed related coverage (liens, etc.), not survey coverage . This does not cover any losses if the description of your new property is not accurate. It is possible to purchase an "enhanced" policy that may have survey coverage. This will usually cost around 25% more, but this does not mean there has been a survey. You still don't know what you have actually purchased.

What documentation should I have for the surveyor?

  • A copy of your deed and/or previously surveyed plat maps is a good place to start.
  • Having the Tax Map, Parcel numbers, address or location and current or previous land owners will be helpful as well.
  • If you are planning a new construction, design or sub-division project it's a good idea to share the plans with the surveyor. Surveyors are usually familiar with different regulation and could help with picking good elevated building sites, too.
  • You will need to tell the surveyor the reason for the surveying service, any boundary disagreements, any information you have been told or shown can be of use. The location of an old fence, a general location of where property corners are purported to be. The more information the surveyor's aware of, the more accurate the estimate.

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