A survey is an examination of your property designed to determine the boundaries and size of the property and to show the location of any improvements thereon. The result of the survey is a plat. The plat should disclose a) all building setback lines required by local zoning or subdivision restrictions and whether your house violates these lines; b) the location of any easements crossing your property and any encroachments upon the easements; and c) any encroachment over your property line by any improvement constructed on adjoining property or on your property. There are also specialty surveys that you can have performed to show topography and water flow across your property, the elevation of any structures on your property compared to the maximum 100-year flood zone, and the location of any septic and drain lines.
If you do not have a survey prepared, you may be unaware of any encroachment or violation that currently exists on your property. You also cannot be certain that any improvement you might want to place on the property (swimming pool, fence, deck) can be placed without violating setback lines, easements or even your own property line. If you purchase a policy of owner’s title insurance without a survey, the policy will exclude coverage for anything that a survey would have disclosed.