It seems to have become somewhat of a common practice in recent years to experienced real estate agents who are newer to advise clients on the cost of the survey, along with a recommendation to purchase title insurance as a way to guard against any problems that might arise with the property.
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And at least one insurance provider has stated in the past that "title insurance reduces the need for up to date surveys on most properties".
What Title Insurance
Unlike other forms of insurance that insure you against things that might happen in the future, title insurance protects you against things that happened in the past. This insurance will also protect you from losses due to title defects which will be revealed with up survey date. It also protects you against fraud and forgery related to the title of the property.
What is a Survey?
A survey is a line drawing of a piece of land which shows measurements, angles, and property boundaries. The survey will show the buildings on the property as well as improvements such as fences, decks, swimming pools, etc. Any easements or rights of way or utility support neighboring properties will also be recorded.
Surveys are typically required of sellers in the bidding stage on the property. If it were up to the date of the survey can reveal potential problems ahead before you close the deal which allows you time to address and correct the problem. Title insurance is usually purchased on the day of closing and will not disclose anything about the property.