One of the things a buyer gets when he/she purchases a home is title insurance which covers issues with ownership of the property such as tax liens, wills, unknown heirs, mechanic liens, etc. What most buyers don't know is that other issues can happen to a building or land itself as a result of a survey.
What is a survey? A survey describes the home’s structure and how it is situated on its lot in relation to "improvements" such as pools and patios, fences, setback lines, and utility easements.
Issues a new owner could face are:
- a driveway, sidewalk, fence, or even landscaping encroaching on a neighbor’s property line
- a permanent structure located on a utility easement preventing access.
- an improvement located past the setback line prompting a removal request from the HOA or the city.
In these types of situations, it is not always clear the accountability belongs. Is there an error in the survey? Was it caused by the seller? The standard owner’s title policy does not cover these kinds of situations but a buyer can purchase additional survey coverage to ensure no issues down the road. The cost is an additional 5% of the title insurance premium.