How a Survey Impacts a Home Sale in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania the title insurance companies and the mortgage lenders do not require a survey of the property each time a property is sold. Surveys do provide valuable information to the buyer of a property so the question of whether or not to obtain a new survey on a property deserves valuable consideration.


Survey without Stakes consists of a plot plan drawing of a property showing the location of the house, outbuildings like garages and sheds, recorded rights of way and easements within the property lines. The intent of such a survey is to inform the buyer, mortgage lender and/or title company of any physical encroachments, recorded set back violations and/or discrepancies with the deed description of the property perimeter. These surveys are a picture of the buildings on the land and to not include stakes with flags or any marking on the property itself.
Boundary Survey with Stakes is the physical staking and/or marking of the property corners defining the property perimeter. In addition to the staking and/or marking of the property corners a scaled drawing showing the house, outbuildings and recorded rights of way and easements within the property perimeter will be generated. Physical encroachments, recorded set back violations and deed description discrepancies will also be shown. Boundary Surveys with Stakes typically take more time and do cost more than a survey without stakes.


Survey Concerns

The following is a list of the major risks that could compromise your ownership of a property and/or cause added expense once you take ownership, all of which a Boundary Survey with Stakes would reveal, allowing the problem to be resolved prior to closing:

  • The lot being purchased is smaller than what was represented by the seller.
  • The lot being purchased is not located where represented.
  • The lot being purchased does not exist.
  • The lot was created by an illegal subdivision.
  • There is a gap between the lot and the neighboring property that no one owns.
  • There are easements giving others the right to use part or all of the lot.
  • There are buildings or other structures owned by others that encroach on the lot.
  • A building on the lot encroaches on the neighboring lot.
  • A building on the lot violates the building line.
  • A building that is supposed to be on the lot is not on the lot.
  • The lot has no access to a public road.
  • There are driveways, paths or other non-recorded rights of way on the lot.
  • The line forming the perimeter of the lot does not end and begin at the same place (this is referred to as the lot no closing).


Survey Waiver

If you choose not to purchase a survey, you will be required to sign a survey waiver at the closing. This survey waiver takes the following form:


I, (purchaser of the property) known as (property address) hereby acknowledge that I have been advised by Settlements, Ltd. to obtain a land survey performed by a professional land surveyor on the above property prior to completing the purchase of this property. I understand that such a survey may disclose such items as a discrepancy in the legal description, easements, rights of way, lack of access to a public road, encroachments of items on this lot onto adjoining lots or encroachments of items on adjoining lots onto this lot. I have declined to purchase such a land survey and agree to hold harmless and release from liability Settlements, Ltd. for failure to obtain such a land survey.