Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Not Having A Survey Can Lead To Big Problems

Underneath it all is the LAND. Right? So, if that’s true then why do people buying real estate usually have no idea where their land begins and ends? They haven’t a clue where the boundaries of the property are, and they’re spending hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars for it. To me, that would be first and foremost; I can worry about the pink bathroom tile later.

If you’re getting a mortgage, usually the Mortgagee will require a Mortgage Plot Plan. This is a map that shows the use of the land, where the actual or proposed structures are located. It can also be used for a septic design. It’s not necessarily a plat of the land or a survey articulating all the metes and bounds. If there already is, or has been, a mortgage on the property then that Plot Plan should already exist, but remember it’s not a survey. In many cases where a septic is installed, there isn’t even a septic plan on file in some of the towns. Only recently has record keeping become more conscientious among towns and engineers. I had an experience where three engineers did surveys over time on a piece of land and each one came up with different information.

A colleague called me while I was writing this to tell me about a 10,000sf lot in Vineyard Haven that she is marketing for an owner. The lot has just been surveyed and a plat has been created. During my conversation with her, I looked up the lot in the Assessor’s Book and remarked, “It’s a trapezoid shaped lot with ~110’ at the rear and ~140’ of frontage. She said, “No, it’s square with about ~130’ at the rear.” The Assessor’s maps are notoriously inaccurate so we all should know never to rely on that information as fact. I read an article the other day that addresses the point that quite often No Survey Leads To Big Problems.

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