Survey: Yes, No or Unknown

What exactly does ‘survey” mean as a field in the MLS?  First, an Instrument Survey is different than a Plot Plan.  This field refers to land that has a survey prepared by a licensed land surveyor available for prospective buyers to review.  You should check “YES” if there has been a written Instrument Survey available, which may or may not be recorded with the deed.  The licensed land surveyor will use his/her expertise and training to map real property lines as well as any improvements, easements, encroachments on the property.  Ask the seller for a copy if it’s not recorded on Mass Land Records (you should always be checking the deed before you list it!).  For great cooperative service, upload the survey into the docs in FlexMLS!

Some agents confuse an Instrument Survey with a far less expensive and less accurate Plot Plan.  A plot plan can be completed by either a surveyor or engineer and does not use instrumental measurements… they take a copy of the deed, assessors map and boundaries to determine if there are any building, driveway or well encroachments. A Plot Plan, sometimes required by the lender, offers a rough outline of the property boundaries and where everything sits on the property.

Other terms you might hear thrown around when talking surveys…

Metes & Bounds = Dimensions.  The boundary lines of land, with their terminal points and angles.

Rods & Chains = An old-timey form of measurement.  Did you know that the acre was originally the area a yoke of oxen could plow in a day and therefore differed in size from one locality to another?  It is now fixed as 10 square chains or 160 square rods, i.e., 4,840 sq yd, 43,560 sq ft, or 1/640 sq mi.