house plans

Land Surveys : How important are they?

Land surveys: People that are embarking on a new construction project often want to skip this step. After all, one piece of ground is similar to the next, right? What could possibly stop you from building a home?

Actually, many hidden issues can pop up along the way. The following things will show you why land surveys are a critical first step to any new home construction project.

Things Change

Outside of newly partitioned city developments, you might find a particular property hasn’t been surveyed in a long time – even decades or more, depending on how long it’s been since the property was last sold. During that time, many things can change:

  • Boundary lines, whether through disputes or simply because the old surveys are inaccurate.

  • Buildings and other improvements rise and fall. If older surveys show that outbuildings or a home once existed on your plot, a new survey is needed to correct those discrepancies.

  • Zoning regulations shift with time. Old surveys may classify a property as residential when it is technically sitting in an area that was recently re-zoned.

Easements and Rights-of-Way

It might not look like it, but there very well could be a road or some other obstruction running right through your property. These are known as easements and rights-of-way. When a property has a right-of-way, this means that someone – a neighbor, a utility company or even a city or county agency – has permission to use a portion of the property as specified in an agreement.

For instance, imagine that your property borders a neighboring plot that has no access to the road. The previous owner of your property may have made an agreement with your neighbor that allows him a path through your property to the road. In other words, the previous owner of your property granted your neighbor a right-of-way and that neighbor now has an easement on your land.

There are many scenarios in which someone may hold an easement on your property. Some easements, depending on where they are located, may make it impossible for you to build. A survey will reveal problems like this, which means you won’t end up with an unbuildable piece of land.

Hidden Objects

It may be that your property is crisscrossed with various water pipes, gas lines, electrical wires, phone lines and more. A survey should tell you where all underground utilities are located and how that affects your plans for construction.

The things listed here are some of the largest obstacles you could face but they’re by no means the only things that a survey will show you. Compared to the cost of your construction project, a survey is a very small expense that provides you with a trove of valuable information.

The Next Steps

When you have land, geographical, or topographical survey information, we can help lay out your lot with the footprint of your chosen house plans and create a Site Plan for you. Call on 502 225 9161 for more information!