Our client had a scheduled closing within days but no property survey. He had inquired twice about getting a survey but the mortgage company kept insisting that “we don’t require it.” After hearing our radio ad, and my interview on the Hallerin Hill Show, our client began having serious doubts about closing without a survey. He called and asked if he could get a survey in time for closing. We rushed out to meet the client’s deadline.
At first blush, everything appeared to be in order with the property. However, I have warned about trusting occupation lines before. ‘Occupation lines’ consist of visible improvements, fences, hedges, trees, mowing, etc. which suggest claims of ownership. They can be very deceptive in that owners tend to rely on them as a kind of ‘boundary mythology’ while the true boundary lines may be very different from appearances.
This was the case here. Our client was very surprised at our survey findings. The results were so shocking that the seller let our buyer out of his contract. Thus, no closing took place. This occurs sometimes. Surveys kill closings. When this happens, it harms the bank, real estate agents, and the seller but the buyer is protected. What motive do any of these people have to look out for a buyer? The incentive to them is directly contrary to a buyers interests! Needless to say, our client was glad he opted for a survey before closing. The buyer has moved on to another property. This time there is no question. We are surveying the new property in a few days.
People are closing daily on properties without benefit of a survey because other parties to the transaction discourage it. Please don’t do it. Exercise appropriate due diligence by getting a survey.
The drawing below shows the occupation lines in green. The bold black lines are the actual property boundary. The house sits unexpectedly askew to the true boundary. A small building and most of the driveway is over the property line.