I’m buying a home in New York. Do I need a survey of the property?

When buying a new home, purchasers in the New York Metropolitan area typically obtain title insurance insuring their ownership interest in the real property being purchased. A report of title will be ordered by their attorney shortly after the contract of sale has been signed and based on that report, a policy of title insurance will be issued upon the closing of the transaction.

In addition to insuring that a new owner has acquired marketable title from a seller, a policy of title insurance insures the boundary lines of the real property being purchased and importantly, that there are no encroachments which could adversely affect the homeowner’s title. A neighbor’s fence placed several feet beyond the boundary line onto the homeowner’s property is an example of a common encroachment. This misplaced fence could result in a “cloud” on title which could cause problems if the homeowner seeks to sell the property. In some cases, the homeowner may even lose title to the portion of the property beyond the fence.

In order to insure against such boundary line problems, the title company will require a survey of the property that it will be insuring. A new survey of a one-family home will usually cost approximately $500 to $600 and will be obtained from a licensed surveyor hired by the title insurance company. In some cases a purchaser can save some money by submitting an existing survey to the title insurance company. The seller or the seller’s title insurance company may be able to provide such a survey. The survey will still need to be updated by a physical inspection, but this costs considerably less than a new survey. A purchaser should always check with their attorney on whether an existing survey can be used or whether a new survey must be ordered.

About George H. Dippel, Attorney at Law

George H. Dippel has been practicing law for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School and a former partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler in their real estate/banking department. Mr. Dippel opened his own law offices in 1993 in Bayside, Queens, New York. Mr. Dippel has assisted thousands of clients throughout Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester with their wills, probate, trusts, real estate and business matters. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Dippel has taught real estate courses in Long Island University’s paralegal program. He is also a licensed real estate instructor and has taught real estate licensing courses in the New York Metropolitan area. Mr. Dippel is admitted to practice in all New York State Courts and the Federal Eastern and Southern District Courts.
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