About The Real Estate Group

The Real Estate Group (TREG) "Partners in Excellence"

The mission of The Real Estate Group, LLC is to be Hampton Roads finest provider of real estate services. Our goal is to create a company that provides absolutely the best service for our customers by fostering an environment of teamwork and a common vision. The Real Estate Group, LLC consists of an accomplished team of skilled professionals who take pride in their work and their company. We work hard to go beyond the expectations of our customers, agents, and employees.

Surveys and Elevation Certificates

For those consumers and buyers who may not be familiar with land surveys and elevation certificates, deciding whether or not to purchase one at settlement can be daunting.

When asked about surveys and elevation certificates during the settlement process, many buyers simply defer to their realtor or the settlement agent without asking questions.  The fact of the matter is, there are so many components to a real estate transaction that these two items, though crucial in some transactions, are often overlooked as they are not always necessary.  We have all heard the old adage, “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”  The message is even more apt when applied to a specialized area where we have limited or no experience.

When posed with the question, the first query tends to be about cost:  A survey is typically between $250 and $450 (depending upon the lot size, but typically cover up to one acre) while an elevation certificate is approximately $300.  There is often a discount to obtain the two reports concurrently, so if you find yourself needing an elevation certificate, you may want to inquire about to the cost of adding a survey at the same time.

The second question that often times comes up is, “Is a survey or elevation certificate required?”

While it is not common for a lender to require that you purchase a survey, if a property lies within a flood zone, an elevation certificate is often a requirement in order to issue a flood insurance policy.  If you are purchasing for cash, or your lender does not require one, should you obtain a survey or an elevation certificate?   Unfortunately the answer is not that cut and dry.

So what exactly are these seemingly high ticket items that you may or may not need?

A physical survey is a full professional survey conducted by a licensed land surveyor.  The surveyor must enter the actual property, locate the physical markers of the property, and identify the boundary lines.  Following the survey, the surveyor then prepares the actual drawing and legal description of the land showing boundaries, dimensions, and all permanent structures, such as buildings, fences, concrete, bulkheads, and pools.  Physical surveys are generally used for real estate transactions, obtaining building permits from the city and for determining the location of property lines.  If you are thinking about improving your land by adding a fence, shed, pool, or other structure, a location survey can be very useful and is often required by the city to obtain a building permit.  Additionally, it is important to know where your property lines are and where the building set back lines are so that you do not encroach on your neighbor’s property, or violate a building code which could be costly if you have to move your shed, fence, or dismantle your newly constructed deck.  These are just a few examples where you will reap the benefits of a survey and where the added expense can really save you money in the long run.
An Elevation Certificate provides information on exact elevation, building type, flood map location, and additional information used to determine the proper flood insurance premium rates.  Often, flood insurance premiums are reduced through the use of elevation certificates. In the absence of the data and information provided on elevation certificates, flood insurance companies assume the worse case scenario and charge the highest rates.  With this in mind, the one time purchase of an elevation certificate can often save you hundreds per year on your flood premium and therefore can pay for themselves within the first year.

Ultimately, the purchase of a survey and/or elevation certificate is something that is specific to each transaction, so be sure to consult with your realtor or settlement agent should you have any questions.

About The Real Estate Group

The Real Estate Group (TREG) "Partners in Excellence"

The mission of The Real Estate Group, LLC is to be Hampton Roads finest provider of real estate services. Our goal is to create a company that provides absolutely the best service for our customers by fostering an environment of teamwork and a common vision. The Real Estate Group, LLC consists of an accomplished team of skilled professionals who take pride in their work and their company. We work hard to go beyond the expectations of our customers, agents, and employees.