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I lined up the shot- a three-pointer from the other side of my office, over my desk, aimed at the trashcan under the credenza. I angled my stance, checked the wind speed of the A/C draft, and released the paper wad from my hand…. It arced gracefully to clear my workstation and was on target to drop through the rim without touching. Then the air conditioning kicked on and knocked my perfect shot out of orbit. The paper wad quickly lost altitude and landed on the floor-I was so close! My staff did not applaud. Close only counts in horseshoes-not in basketball and certainly not in land survey.

A survey on a piece of real estate can’t be “close”. A survey defines the amount of land you pay for (or will be paid for) and is the basis of your living space-easements and set-backs.

Get a survey before you buy. Even if you are purchasing within a platted neighborhood where colorful flags “outline your lot”, get survey. It can mean the difference between where you put your jacuzzi and being in hot water.

The problem is, if you encroach on someone else’s property, not only do you decrease their lot, you also throw off the set-backs they’re required to have.

A swimming pool in the wrong place tends to water-down relations between neighbors. A poorly located drain field is even worse! When stuff like that hits the fan, amicable next door residents can become nasty neighbors in a hurry. No, “close” definitely doesn’t count in land surveys.

Get your survey when you purchase, and get title insurance to cover any in accuracy on the boundaries. There’s a lot at stake. Survey errors can happen, but if you have title insurance without a survey exception, you don’t have to pay to fix the mistake. Title insurance pays for the defense of your ownership and will pay for valid claims, such as an error on your survey. (The ALTA 9 endorsement will probably be a good idea also.)

Be close in horseshoes, be close with your neighbors, but when it comes to putting up a fence, know where your boundaries are and follow them.


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