A survey is not always necessary but is always helpful. A survey provides more than just a description of property. A survey may also show potential property issues such as:
1.1 Boundaries with neighbors
1.1.1 Possible encroachments
1.1.2 Possible gaps between parcels
1.2 Public right of ways
1.3 Location of utility lines
1.4 Access issues
If purchasing vacant land a survey is always suggested; however, if purchasing a parcel of property that is being carved out of a larger parcel, a survey will be necessary to obtain an accurate description of that portion being purchased.
2. Environmental Surveys
2.1 Phase One Assessment
A Phase One Environmental Assessment provides the buyer with a survey/overview of the environmental condition and history of the property, focusing on the possible presence of hazardous materials. The report identifies potential problems such as underground storage tanks, or hazardous materials contaminants. A Phase One Environmental Assessment does not include specific inspections for asbestos, lead, radon, delineation of wetlands.
2.2 Phase Two Report
A Phase Two report is done as a follow up to Phase One and involves physical inspections and testing of the property by taking core samples, focusing on the specific issues of concern that were identified in the Phase One report.
An appraisal is needed to determine the value of a property. An appraisal is not always necessary but is highly recommended when purchasing a property. There are three types of membership designations for appraisers:
3.1 MAI—this membership is held by appraisers that are experienced in the valuation and evaluation of commercial, industrial, residential, and other types of properties, and can advise clients on real estate investment decisions.
3.2 SRPA—this membership is held by appraisers that are experienced in the valuation of commercial, industrial, residential and other types of properties.
3.3 SRA—this membership is held by real estate solution providers who are experienced in the analysis and valuation of residential real property.
4. Flood Zone
Prior to purchasing a property it is important to check with the local planning agency to determine whether any portion of the property is located in a designated flood zone. Any property within a flood zone has potential for major issues as well as insurance requirements.