We recommend to all our buyers that a boundary survey of the property be done prior to the close of escrow. The buyer is then able to clearly see the land that will be conveyed to them. Unfortunately, we have seen buyer's assume where the property corners are located because either the buyer or seller will not pay for the cost of the survey. As real estate agents, it is beyond our duty and expertise to point out the corners of a property, unless the property is clearly marked with a surveyor's registered markers.
In the past, we have witnessed more than a few times, that a survey has clarified information and staved off costly lawsuits. The buying public sometimes assumes that because the property is in an established neighborhood, there is no cause for concern. To the contrary, we have seen fences put up that encroach over lot lines.
In Payson North we had an instance where a storage shed was built four feet over the property line. Two of the most egregious situations we have witnessed were: a homeowner built his detached garage on Forest Service land, and the other incident happened when a water tank was erected and had to be removed from the national forest.
If a buyer wants to rely on old survey markers, they should be careful. It is a good idea to have them recertified.
Regretfully, we know of two incidents, where a neighbor, probably under the dark of night, went out and moved a surveyors property corners. Not only is this unethical, but it is also unlawful and could result in criminal and civil prosecution.
The cost to survey a normal lot, where no problems are encountered, can range from $300 to $900, depending on the challenges of the property. There can be additional charges if discrepancies are found or if a new plat map has to be drawn.
The surveying profession has changed greatly with the advent of the GPS and lasers. Surveys are now extremely accurate. There is a historical monument between Needles, Calif. and Laughlin, Nev. called the Von Schmidt marker. This marker designates the survey done in 1872 to mark the state line between California and Nevada. Von Schmidt's survey missed the state line by three-quarters of a mile and the state line was later adjusted. Fortunately today, we do not honor surveyors who miss the mark by almost a mile.
Ray Pugel is the designated broker for Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. For more information, call (928) 474-2216.