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A Matter of Land | Do I need to survey? Why?

Published:Sunday | May 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMCraig Francis

Good day, readers. Today we look at questions from a reader.


Hello Mr Francis,

I hope you can answer my questions.

Is it that every time a person is going to purchase a piece of land, they have to get it surveyed?

Also, who is responsible for getting it done – the purchaser or the seller?

I await your reply.

Thank you.

– R.B.


Good day, R.B.

Thanks for your questions. My colleagues get that query very often because there is a cost associated with undertaking a survey. Persons normally seek to find out if it can be bypassed. I will be happy to respond to you and to every reader so you can understand the purpose and importance of the survey.

To your first question: Does a person who is going to purchase property need to have a survey done? Yes, they need to do a land survey of the property. If the property is going to be purchased with the help of a lending institution, they will require you to have a survey done of the property (a surveyor’s identification report). If you are buying the property with cash, without the help of a lending agency, it is advised that you get a survey done on the property.

The survey will indemnify you from any problems that may exist on the property.

The land surveyor will, during his survey of the property, be able to detect and determine if there are any breaches of the restrictive covenants for the property. He/she will also be able to determine if there are any encroachments of the property on any other property, or whether any property is encroaching on the subject property. This is for the purchaser’s benefit and to ensure that the property they will be investing a significant sum of money in is in good order.

In the purchase of a car, persons will always ensure that they have a mechanic check it out. The investment is normally significantly less than one in a property. So whenever someone is going to purchase a property, it is ALWAYS advised that you have it surveyed. This can save you years of distress and money.

The purchaser is usually the one who pays for the survey of the property, as it’s really in his interest to know what’s happening on the property. Also, it is required by the lending agency so they will ask the purchaser to provide them with a surveyor’s identification report, so it’s the purchaser’s responsibility.

The vendor is willing to sell the property in whatever state it is, so it’s up to the purchaser to ensure that the property he is about to buy is in full order.

I hope that answers your questions R.B., and all the best in your venture into property ownership.

Keep sending your questions and comments. Let’s continue to explore A Matter of Land until next time.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. Email feedback to and or Precision Surveying Services.