Land Survey: Defining a Property
Often times when showing properties, a client asks me, “Where is the property lines?”

As a purveyor of properties, it would make sense that we have an answer, but that is the purpose of the land survey. Common indicators of boundaries such as where the grass is cut, location of fences and landscaping and even etched lines on the curb are not always reliable.

Two types of surveys exist in St Louis real estate transactions:

Spot Survey
Stake Survey
They can be called by other names too, and basically are differences in the level of detail.

The Stake Survey, otherwise known as a full survey, looks at the boundary of the property and its relationship to the improvements within. It is the best survey to purchase, and is recommended by Premier Realty Exclusive in all circumstances. It costs more, but in with home ownership, a full survey allows for the owner to be certain about what space they are in control of and plan for any future improvements to the property such as fences, sidewalks and more.

The Spot survey is simply an abbreviated form of reporting, where the boundaries of the property are shown, and a rough estimate of where the home sits within the boundaries is placed on the survey. Improvements such as sidewalks, driveways and fences are often times not included in this report. Sometimes this report is the minimum requirement of the lender.

Surveys are usually acceptable by the title company if they are less than 10 years old and no other improvements have been added to the property, so often times buyers may ask the seller if they have a copy of a survey to give to the buyer. The danger of this can be that the seller only purchased a spot survey, which can’t be relied upon for practical uses.