Is a Survey Required When Buying a Home?

A survey is an important part of a real estate transaction. It’s highly advisable that a buyer have one done before closing on a home so they have a full accounting of any issues that may exist. And in instances where a lender is involved, a survey is actually required.

When a loan is taken out on a home, the lender makes the borrower sign a promise to repay the loan.  The lender will also lien the property with a mortgage. But they don’t stop there: another requirement for getting a loan is title insurance. Title insurance protects the lender from defects in the title to the property, including encroachments that might make the home unmarketable/unsalable. In order for the lender to obtain the most comprehensive title insurance available, the title insurer will want to know (among other things) if there are any encroachments associated with the property.  And that’s where a survey comes in.

To be clear, if you’re paying cash for a home, you can still get a homeowner’s title policy without a survey; however, that policy will have an exception written for boundaries. But as a rule of thumb, if you’ll be applying for a mortgage, you should plan to have a survey done.