Protect Yourself With A Survey & Inspection

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A Buyer generally contacts an attorney at two times with respect to a real estate closing, either before the closing to retain the attorney, or after the closing when a problem is discovered. In the latter situation, it may already be too late.

Two services I always recommend before closing in connection with a purchase, are a survey and inspection.

    An inspection will give a purchaser a professional opinion as to the condition of the property (and may also provide a second opportunity to negotiate the purchase price). A competent inspector may discover significant construction defects or building code violations, which could require expensive corrective measures. The costs of correcting defects can turn a great deal into a disaster. If defects are discovered after the closing, the Buyer will likely be stuck with the costs of remedying these defects instead of the Seller.
Unless you are qualified to professionally inspect a property yourself, a professional inspection is always recommended. 

A survey in a real estate transaction is a very wise investment. A typical title insurance policy will contain a standard exception to insurance coverage as follows:  Encroachments, overlaps, boundary line disputes, and any other matters which would be disclosed by an accurate survey and inspection of the premises.

 In other words, Encroachments, overlaps, boundary line disputes, and any other matters which would be shown on a survey are not insured by your title insurance policy, unless you obtain a current survey and have the survey exception above deleted from your policy. Missing an item which would be disclosed by a survey (such as a structure sitting on an easement) could destroy the marketability and value of your property. It may sound unlikely to you, but these things do happen. 

You should also note that if you do not obtain a survey and do not have survey title insurance coverage, your title premium will not be reduced. You pay the same amount of money for a title policy in which you do not have survey coverage. 

       Remember, it is a general principle of conveyancing that unless expressly provided for in the contract, covenants, and warranties contained in the contract will not survive the delivery of the deed. Therefore, it is important defects be discovered and resolved before the closing. If you are
relying on recovering compensation from the Seller for defects discovered after closing, you will have an uphill fight, and an perhaps an
expensive one.

Edward S. Robins is a Real Estate Attorney at Edward S Robbins, P.A., a firm serving Fort Lauderdale, FL in Real Estate, Probate and Trusts And Estates cases.