Brian's House Building Blog

Surprising Information Revealed in a Land Survey and Why You Might Need One

by Peyton Sanders

A land survey actually does much more than note the actual boundaries of a property, and an individual might consider getting such a survey before buying a home or even for property they own. Note some of the information revealed on a land survey and why you might need one, either before buying or even after living in your home for some years.

Zoning classification

Zoning for property often means more than just residential or industrial; there are typically other classifications that could affect how you use your property and improvements that can be made. For example, certain residential zoning restrictions may keep you from running even a small business from your home, from parking a commercial truck on your property, or from adding too much to your home's width or height. Those restrictions may also keep you from encroaching upon your neighbour's boundary, the street on which your home is located, or an alley.

You might also be surprised to find out that, because of the zoning classification of your neighbourhood, there is nothing you can do to prevent your neighbour from running his or her business from home, from parking their commercial truck on their property, and the like. This can be especially important to consider if you're thinking of buying a home and don't like the neighbours running a business next to your residence.


You may not think that a home is built over a large cemetery, but keep in mind that some small family plots were not uncommon on residential properties many decades ago, and even in recent times. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of a home being built over a cemetery and aren't sure if one was located on the property, note that this information is included in a typical land survey.

Underground drains and cables

Overhead lines and other such objects are easy enough to see, but it's good to know if a property has underground drains and cables so you know if you would be able to install landscaping features or a retaining wall without disturbing them. You also need to know if you are at risk for a leak from a drain, pipe, or other large sewer feature. Underground lines may also mean that repair crews may need to go through your property to access them for repairs or replacement, and this may mean a disruption of your property. It's good to know if these are located on your property and where and any risk you might face because of their location.