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Buying Tips: Surveys

A survey will be necessary in most cases when purchasing or selling a home or vacant land in the Summit or Park County areas. Through an updated survey, you can have a complete description of boundaries, setbacks, easements and improvements on a property. In addition, it provides disclosure from encroachments that may occur when your neighbor makes improvements to his or her property, like a home addition, deck, fence, hot tub or garden. When buying or selling, you will find that most contracts address an existing or updated survey.

As your trusted real estate resource, Breckenridge Associates Real Estate recommends a survey when purchasing a home or vacant land. We also feel it is consistently helpful in marketing a property, when it is for sale. Regardless of whether you are buying or selling a home or land, in the Breckenridge area, a survey is a professionally-prepared document that can help property owners now and in the future stay informed.

What is a survey

Different types of surveys exist, based upon the type of property and what the buyer, owner or seller wants out of the survey. Following are descriptions of the various kinds of surveys out there.

Improvement Location Certificate (ILC)

The main purpose of an ILC is to certify the location of improvements on the property and indicate any overlaps by, or on, the property. In addition, it notes the existence or appearance of easements as well as crossings. Improvements regarding the platted boundary and monuments (property corners) located will be shown on an ILC. The document will show platted easements and building envelopes, but usually will not indicate standard setback requirements defined by county or city zoning. During various phases of construction, an ILC may be required by the government of the town or county to verify that setback requirements are being adhered to. An ILC is not a full survey to find the location of the boundaries and property corners, nor does it replace missing corners. You should not count on it to determine property lines or place improvements in the future.

Land Survey Plat or Boundary Survey

The purpose of a Land Survey is to determine the locations of boundaries and monuments for a property. Replacement will be done of any monuments at the site's corners. Documentation is handled for any above ground improvements as well as utilities. Land Survey Plats may be utilized to determine the best site of additional improvements on a piece of property.

Topographical Survey

The topography of a property is documented in a Topographical Survey. Typically, documentation of the topographic features is done in 2 foot increments. A survey of this kind might be requested by a builder for construction on a slope. A full Land Survey Plat may or may not include a Topographical Survey.

Elevation Certificate

An Elevation Certificate is prepared to show the elevation of improvements on a property. This is normally something that your insurance company or lender may require when you apply for flood insurance. Beginning at a location with a known elevation (which could be a few miles away), the surveyor then utilizes a high precision level device to translate that to the property.

Construction Survey

A Summit County surveying company might offer a number of services to contractors and builder. The most basic service is to stake out a property before the start of excavation, staking of footers, and staking of foundation walls. Depending upon what is needed by the particular owner or contractor, other services like site-plan preparation can also be done as part of a survey for home builders.

Re-subdivision Plats/Subdivision Plats

Subdivision work involves preparation of the plat documents to be approved by the owner, mortgagee, government, and any other entity involved in the land development. The land will be completely surveyed including locating or setting monuments according to subdivision procedures. This may simply involve adjusting a lot line between two lots, or it could involve subdividing a larger property into a number of lots.

Mining Claim Research & Surveying of Mining Claim

Location and documentation of the area is what goes into a mining-claim survey. These were much more common in previous centuries in the Breckenridge area.

Condominium Mapping

A new addition to the surveyor's tool kit is Condo Mapping. This type of survey indicate the location and horizontal and vertical measurement of all improvements, both interior and exterior. These are shown pictorially on a map of the condominium. Before the units are sold, the local government’s planning department approves the map and it is recorded at the county courthouse.