To Survey or not to Survey? That is the question

Posted by on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 at 9:56am.

During the home buying process you should be asked if you want to get an ILC (Improvement Location Certificate) or Survey of the land. 

It always seems to shock people that this questions is asked by their Realtor, and understandably so. In fact, the state of Colorado finds an ILC or Survey so important that they have put an entire section in your contract to buy and sell real estate.  This is a good thing, its there to protect you.  The home you are trying to purchase may already have a fence up, and that seems like a logical indication of a property line: but is it accurate?  You are about to spend/borrow a substantial amount of money and the lender likes to be 100% sure that the property lines haven’t been impeded on.  

If you visit the City of Denvers website you will find a plethora of information about parcels of land, usage rights and information on a survey.  Lets start with the basics: the legal definition of a land survey:

“A land survey is performed for the purpose of locating, describing, monumenting and mapping the boundaries and corners of a parcel of land. It may also include mapping of the topography of the parcel, and the location of buildings or other improvements upon the parcel.”

According to the City of Denver you should you hire a professional to survey land if any of the following are in motion:

  • Before you purchase it. This will disclose the relationship between the lines of possession and the deeded property lines.
  • A lending institution may require either a Land Survey Plat or an Improvement Location Certificate of your property when you borrow money on it.
  • Whenever you believe there may be a conflict of use on your property.
  • Prior to dividing any parcel of land for sale.
  • The county or city that your property is located in may require a Land Survey prior to the construction of any structure or improvement on the property.
  • When you intend to sell any tract of land.
  • When your lawyer, architect, real estate agent or municipal planning or engineering office advises or requires it.

This is not a scary process, it actually provides a bit of clarity and peace of mind knowing exactly what you are purchasing.  You’d be surprised how wonky the property lines can be in and around Denver. Your REALTOR® should have a surveying company that they can recommend, if not, google is always a good place to start research.

If you have additional questions or concerns please email me:

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