Recently, I assisted in the sale of a building located in Downtown Raleigh. Since the owner purchased the building in the early 1950s, there have obviously been numerous changes in downtown. Adjacent properties were sold several times throughout the years, and each time the new buyer needed an updated survey for their closing.
During this particular transaction, I took the time to sit down with what I consider to be one of the most detailed surveyors in Wake County. He spent several hours with me digging through piles of paperwork that he had uncovered through his research for the subject property. Most of the paperwork consisted of recorded neighbor surveys stating a legal description of the property lines and a recorded map.
I was shocked to see the countless mistakes he discovered from careless survey work. One neighboring property is legally described to be three feet within the right of way along one of the streets of Raleigh. However, the attached map showed the building to be within the property boundaries.
In a totally different situation, I was involved in the sale of some land in the Research Triangle Park. After a detailed survey was completed, the buyer discovered the property actually consisted of an additional acre not advertised and shown on an old survey. This was an immediate return for the buyer.
I also recently heard about an incorrect survey in Cary that led to a $30,000 settlement by the new property owner. That had to be painful.
If you are buying a property and in the midst of your due diligence, I encourage you to give careful consideration to the quality of the work performed by the surveyor. Obviously receiving the right plat is critical to the process. But also consider a survey as an insurance policy for the future and it might save you many headaches and countless dollars down the road. I have come to realize that all surveys are not created equal.