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When is the best time to get a land survey?

Buying or selling real estate? Protect your investment with a land survey, especially before the option period concludes to save money and potentially avoid problems.


During a real estate transaction, there are typically two option periods in a typical contract. The option period offers a free exit if any negative conditions are discovered that the cause the buyer to retract an offer. What's enticing about the option period is that it allows a buyer to exit without financial penalty.


After the option period, if any adverse condition is found, the buyer would be unable to exit the contract without loss of earnest money, which typically would be around 1% of the purchase price.


A thorough land survey is pivotal when uncertainties around property boundaries, encroachments, or zoning matters arise. Leveraging a land survey before the option period ends empowers a buyer to address potential issues early, potentially saving costs and allowing the buyer to negotiate from a more informed position.


Real estate transactions involve a lot of professionals and disciplines, including:

  • Title company

  • Real estate broker

  • Real estate agent

  • Banker

  • Attorney

  • Insurance company

  • Builder

  • Contractor

  • Land Surveyor

A land surveyor is the professional that will obtain accurate and detailed property information. Engaging a land surveyor during the option period allows you to assess the property's boundaries and can potentially reveal problems that may be outside the scope of what a buyer wants to undertake. By engaging a land surveyor early, you not only gain clarity on legal ownership and access but also minimize the risk of future boundary disputes with neighbors, which can be emotionally charged and sometimes become entrenched legal battles.


Here are 13 areas of concern that can be uncovered if a land survey is produced early and would have an impact on a successful deal:

  1. Adverse easements

  2. Protrusion issues with existing structures that cross boundary lines

  3. Fence lines that don't follow legal property descriptions

  4. Bad land surveying which result in inaccurate legal descriptions

  5. Updated technology that could change previous survey results

  6. New information that may not be reflected in a previous land survey

  7. Hidden easements that may have adverse impact on the property

  8. Missing information from previous surveys

  9. Unknown structures that were not properly documented

  10. Flood plain issues

  11. Pipelines utilities that would limit the possibilities of a real estate deal

  12. No legal access to the property

  13. Zoning concerns to understand the property's compliance with local regulations

Detecting these issues early in the transaction enables negotiation with the seller for resolutions or adjustments. This proactive step helps you avoid unexpected expenses post-purchase.


A land survey conducted before the option period ends also can reveal a variety of issues, allowing you to make informed decisions about the property's potential and value.


A land surveyor has the professional expertise required in this critical phase of a real estate deal. A buyer needs accurate, reliable information for negotiation and decision-making. In a landscape where precision matters, a land surveyor becomes a key player in securing your investment and facilitating a smooth real estate transaction.

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