A home is a big investment — maybe the biggest one you’ll ever make. You may consider everything that the seller tells you about the property, but you’re also smart enough to do some research on your own before you commit to the deal.

You may want to have the property surveyed. A property survey is a formal process that determines the legal description of a piece of property. Having one done before you make your final purchase agreement is often smart because:

  • It can clarify boundary lines. The current owner of a property may not know its exact boundary lines. Sometimes boundary lines get obscured by vegetation or outbuildings. Sometimes people simply forget where they are over the years. Knowing the boundaries helps you decide if the property is right for you.
  • It may reveal easements and rights-of-way of which you weren’t aware. Even if the easement or right-of-way isn’t currently being used, it can still be an encumbrance on the property that you have to either cope with or seek to have removed.
  • You can uncover the location of utility lines. This may not seem like much — until you move into a home and realize that you can’t have the addition you wanted or the pool of your dreams. Plus, you should know if the utility companies will have to access your property to make repairs.
  • There may be old cemeteries on the land. Family plots were very common in the past and you never know if there are graves hidden in large lots.

These aren’t the only reasons to consider a survey before you buy — but they are some good ones. If you’re unsure of what steps you need to guard your interests in a real estate deal, an attorney can help.