The property you’ve just made an offer on is currently waiting on a property inspection. And your contractor is on his way to help evaluate what repairs will be needed to bring the project in proper selling condition. And you’ve just received a copy ofreal estate invesing the seller’s current property survey. Now you need to spend some time carefully reviewing the document. It will tell you a lot that you can’t find out from simply walking through the unit.

A property survey, sometimes referred to as a plat of survey, is a drawing representing all permanent structures on the lot, primarily the house but also other permanent improvements such as sidewalks, driveways, swimming pools and storage sheds.

The survey will also show the boundaries of the lot and more specifically where your property ends and the neighbor’s begins. The home’s setback will also be highlighted, which represents how close the home can be to the street and surrounding boundaries.

It’s not uncommon for a fence to cross over into a neighbor’s lot. This can be discovered by locating the fence on the survey and the property line. If the fence does encroach, the lender will want to make sure the title company will provide an insurance policy that will insure around the fence line.

There are also easements that will be identified on the survey. A survey indicates a right by a third party to access their equipment. What third party can do that? The utility company will likely have an easement shown on the survey if any electrical equipment or transformer is located on your property, such as in the back yard or attached to utility poles. There can also be easements allowing the cable, telephone and water companies to access your property whenever they need to, primarily to repair or install their equipment.