When you are buying land, a townhome or a detached home it is important that you get an updated survey before closing.
Buyers sometimes think they do not need one because it is obvious where the property lines are located or they have a copy of an older survey. In the Triangle area there are restrictions on how much you can build on a property.
There are building setbacks that tell you how far from the property lines a house or garage can be. Even on some larger lots, there are additional restrictions because that land is in a watershed district/area. In a watershed district, an owner is limited by the amount of impervious surface area available allotted to that property.
Buy A House and Plan to Put in a Patio, Pool or Garage?
That means that if you buy a house and plan to put in a patio, pool, garage, extend a paved driveway, or put an addition on the house that you need to know how much impervious surface area is left on that property to see if the city or county will allow you to install those on your property. Watershed areas are not obvious so you may buy a property without any water nearby but still have impervious soil restrictions.
Older surveys often did not include impervious soil information.
If you plan to do any changes you should get a survey that includes the impervious soil information to confirm if you will be able to make those changes. If you bought your house new and the builder gave you a plot plan that included impervious soil information it may not be 100% accurate if any changes were made between proposed construction and closing – adjusting the size of walkways, hardscapes, driveways, etc. There are also areas where the city or county allowed a builder to take the extra impervious soil away from one lot to give to another lot so it may appear that the lot should be big enough to allow additions but legally there is not.
Your buyer’s agent or your closing attorney will be able to recommend a local surveyor who will need to do a survey to be able to confirm the impervious soil calculation.
The cost of a survey varies depends on the size of the property and how much research will be required to determine the impervious soil calculations.
Check out this link from 2015 from a local news story of a homeowner who was shocked to find out his property was in violation of the impervious soil limit – http://www.wral.com/-it-was-a-nightmare-man-warns-nc-homeowners-about-little-known-land-rule/14753042/
Questions about Impervious Soil and Surveys?
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