When purchasing real estate, buyers often envision what improvements they can make to the property: adding a detached garage; an addition to the house; a fenced yard; etc. A survey will show all improvements, boundaries and easements and will show you exactly what space you have with which to work. Your survey should come with property zoning, boundaries, setback lines, and buildable area. This enables you to plan and can save time and money.

Here are some of the issues that you could discover on getting a survey:

1. Boundary Lines. Where does your property begin and end? Where can you build a fence? an addition to a house? a shed? These are some of the reasons you would conduct a survey, so as to locate boundary lines and other lines of occupancy or possession, which is critical to have before you build a fence, add a room, etc.

2. Gores, Overlaps, and Gaps. Part of the boundary line certification, most surveys include a statement that unless the surveys says otherwise, there are no discrepancies between the boundary lines of your property and the adjoining property.

3. Easements are often the rights of one party to the use of another party's property for a specific use, they often exist without any physical evidence, and they are often not shown on the deed. A survey placed with the title search by an attorney will usually uncover these easements and they will then be shown on the survey map.

4. Above ground water. The typical survey reports visible or surface waters only. Underground waters and wetlands are topics that are better covered by other professional inspections.

5. Joint driveways, party walls, encroachments or overhangs. You may have an obligation by law to support your neighbor's driveway by maintaining your own.

6. Existing improvements. The surveyor may certify that the buildings and improvements that exist at the time of the survey are not in violation of laws or other restrictions such as those regarding height, bulk, dimension, frontage, building lines, set-backs, and parking.

7. Water, Electric, Gas, Telephone pipes, drains, wires, cables, vaults, manhole covers, catchbasins, lines, and poles. Poles and above-ground wires are visible, but the surveyor can report the existence of underground cables and drains, if provided by the utility companies and municipality. Utility companies have the right to use a portion of your property for upkeep. Knowing the exact location of underground utilities is critical before any excavation or construction begins.

8. Cemeteries. If one exists, the survey will show the exact location of any old cemeteries on your plat.

9. Access, Ingress and Egress. Your survey should state, whether there is physical vehicular ingress and egress to an open public street.

10 Zoning Classification. Your zoning classification puts specific restrictions on how you use your property. With the certified survey, you may want to consult an attorney about whether you are using your property in conformance with zoning ordinances or for other advice about the legal ramifications of your property survey.