Whether you’re looking to buy a piece of land on which to construct your company’s next corporate office or sales branch, or you’re an ambitious builder looking to find your own piece of land on which to build your very own home, a survey will always be vital. Chartered surveyors are not only required for those purchasing already available property in major cities such as Birmingham or London, but are also a necessity when either buying a new piece of land or building anything new on your existing land.
Chances are that if you are looking for a loan to buy a property or piece of land, the lender will insist that the land be surveyed by a licensed surveyor who will be able to accurately assess the value of the land and what can be done with it on a logistical and legal level. Even if you’re planning on adding to your existing property, a survey would be incredibly beneficial. For example if you wanted to build a fence around your property line, a survey would keep the legal wolves from the door.
Getting your land surveyed CAN be a daunting process but below we’ve outlined all the steps that should be followed before any development begins.
Do you NEED a survey?
There are roughly six situations where a land survey should be undertaken. Please read the following carefully:-
• If you’re buying new property then a surveyor will be able to ascertain that what you’re buying is exactly what it looks like.
• If you’re constructing on existing property then you’ll need to know exactly where your property line is, so as to comply with national zoning ordinances.
• If your property has any easements of access (for example its own driveway or parking spot) a survey will be able to determine exactly who’s allowed to use them and when.
• If you’re selling up shop, then having a recent survey will significantly improve your properties marketability. If you haven’t had a recent survey on your home for example, potentialbuyers might feel dubious about putting any money down.
• If you need to verify exactly how much land you owe in order to be properly taxed.
• If your neighbours start encroaching on your property a survey should be able to help iron out whether or not you can or should take legal action against them.
When you’ve decided that you need a survey, contact a range of local firms for a range of estimates. Chartered surveyors will generally charge more or less depending on your area (for example London would be far more expensive than Manchester) so take that into account, but be sure to get a range of estimates before you make a decision, no matter where you live. Make sure your deed to the property/land is on hand and available as many firms won’t even give you an estimate without proof that you actually own it.
Compare all the estimates you receive, making sure that the surveying firm you use has done their research and checked for any previous surveys done on your property. Firms who use previous surveys to help them carry out their own will generally do a better job overall and will be able to give you a better price.
Getting Down to Business
When you have made your decision and decided on a flat fee, the surveyors will ask you to sign a contract. Read it carefully before signing it and return it to the surveyors with your bid. As well as your bid you might have to also pay a retainer fee, but don’t worry, this is standard and it shouldn’t be too severe. Before you hand over the contract and your payment, make 100% sure that you know how long it’s likely to take for the survey to be completed. Some ‘cowboy’ operations have been guilty of unnecessary delays and when you’re in the land and property business, every second counts!
Once the deed is done with you should get a signed certificate from your surveyors, informing you that the survey is complete and has been recorded. At this point it’s your job to crack out the champagne and start building!
Bill Jobs is a freelance copywriter from the UK who knows a little something about land surveys seeing as he spent his early twenties working for chartered surveyors. London based until recently, he now works from a quaint little flat in the centre of Birmingham.
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