Q: In preparing for settlement, we have been told that a survey of the property is required. I don't understnad why we have to pay approximately $100 (that was the price quoted) for a survey, when the house we are buying is less than two years old and the seller has given us their original survey. Who is requiring this and why?
A: The lender is, and frankly, I think it is a very good ides. However, the price quoted seems a little high, and you should be able to shop around for a lower one.
Most standard title insurance policies in this area specifically exempt from coverage "unrecorded easements, if any, on, above, or below the surface; any discrepancies or conflicts in boundary lines; shortage in area; and/or encroachments, if any, which a current and accurate survey and an inspection of the property would disclose."
Thus, for the lender's protection-as well as your own-a survey is mandatory.
All surveys will show the boundary lines of the property being surveyed. A good survey will show much more. The surveyor who is doing a proper job must find and show all recorded easements, all unrecorded possibly implied easements (for example, a pathway over your property from your next door neighbor's house), as well as encroachments, building lines and street lines.
If the title is not marketable, you- the buyer-generally have the right to cancel yourself out of the transaction. If there is a serious encroachment of a structure over someone else's property line, which a survey will show, you certainly want to be alerted to this in advance of settlement.
You should also look for building restriction lines and setbacks. Most properties contain restrictions whereby the owner cannot build all the way to the street for example, or to the exact boundary of your neighbor's property line. Basically, these restrictions are for the mutual protection of all the neighbors, to avoid clutter and "bunched up" houses.