A home survey is an assessment and official documentation of the property lines where the house is located. They are essentially a map of the property. The survey will typically show any easements, including easements used by utility or cable companies to bury lines or access above the ground lines. A survey includes all the boundary lines and the specific layout of any easements or encroachments on the property. Note - property encroachments are physical structures that intrude on or over the legal property boundary line of a given lot.
Inasmuch as home purchase is a significant investment, it is necessary to retain a qualified licensed professional surveyor to perform the home survey. This way the buyer knows with confidence exactly what to expect with the real estate transaction including the amount of acreage included in the sale. A surveyor utilizes professional equipment to produce the survey.
Typically a survey will take several hours to complete, however it can take longer depending on the size, geography, and complexity of the property lines and existing markers. Properties involving additional buildings, fencing, easements, or encroachments, will take more time than a standard property with just a single house.
Most mortgage companies will require a property survey before funding the property, however, some mortgage companies will be satisfied by the title insurance obtained. In that case they will not require a survey. Still it is best to have a survey conducted so that the property that you believe you are purchasing, is the property you are actually buying.