What Is a Property Survey and Why Is It Important?

A property survey, often called a Plat of Survey, is a document created by a surveyor that shows the property lines and other details of a property you are planning to purchase.

Depending on the lender and how recently the last survey was done on the property, the lender may require a current survey as part of the loan process.

Why is it important for your lender to know the property lines of a home for which it intends to lend money? It’s often less about the property lines themselves than what’s on them.

One example is fences. If there is a fence that you believe to be on your neighbor’s side of the property line and it turns out to be on yours, there could be unforeseen costs for you down the road.

These include maintenance and possibly replacement. Keep in mind that you can’t go by any “agreement” the current owner has with the neighbor for this, based on the property lines they believe to be correct.

The same goes for trees, which need occasional trimming and may eventually need to be removed altogether.

In more extreme situations, there could be an object such as a permanent shed that sits on both sides of a property line. These situations can get sticky, so it’s important to complete a current survey that clearly delineates property lines and establishes what is and is not on the property.

If the survey reveals encroachments or other property issues, real estate attorneys can help you sort through these issues. They are invaluable to have in your corner during real estate purchases, especially when situations such as survey issues arise.

If you need a real estate attorney, I can recommend trusted professionals from my preferred provider list who can help guide you through this process. I am also happy to answer any other questions you have about surveys and lender requirements for them. Just give me a call.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Home?

Before I answer this question, I want to let you know that while a higher credit score will definitely open up more financing options for you, credit is just one part of your entire borrower profile. Other parts include your down payment and what you have in the way of other assets.

That being said, I have many loan options that can accommodate a wide range of credit scores and profiles.

The majority of buyers today are using one of two programs to finance a home: conventional and FHA.

Conventional loans, which also go by the name Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, are the most common loans.

To qualify for this type of loan, you’ll ideally want a credit score in the range of 720 or higher.

You can still qualify for these programs with lower credit scores, but you may pay more in lender adjustments and/or a higher interest rate. For the down payment, you’ll need 5 percent or more, based on your credit score.

FHA, another option, allows as little as 3.5 percent down, and ideally your credit score will be in the 620 or higher range.

Also keep in mind that even if you start your home ownership journey with a different credit score than you would have liked, in some cases you can improve this score in a short period of time.

If you would like me to check your scores or provide more details on how credit scores are a part of the home-buying process, give me a call. I’m here to help.