What is a survey certificate?

A survey certificate is a document showing where the building(s) is located on a property, showing the property’s boundary lines, together with the building footprint within those lines. A professional surveyor will be required to obtain a survey. We always recommend that a buyer obtain a survey certificate when purchasing a house, as this confirms for the buyer that the property is not encroaching any boundary lines, within the proper setbacks, and that there are no buildings or structures located over a restricted area should the property be subject to such charges as a statutory right of way, restrictive covenant or easement. Increasingly, real estate transactions are completed in a time frame that does not allow a buyer to arrange for a survey. Sellers with a survey will normally provide these to a buyer given they have no use for the survey once they have sold. The buyer may be able to avoid obtaining title insurance if a survey is completed or if a seller can provide a previously completed survey then swear a statutory declaration that the building(s) location have not changed since the survey was completed. Buyers should enquire whether or not the seller has a survey certificate, and if so, confirm in the purchase agreement that the seller will provide this to the buyer prior to closing.

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