Survey Plans and House Buying

Survey Plans and House Buying

Should I check a survey plan before buying a house? 

Deciding whether to consult a survey plan before bidding on or buying a house is considered one of the most effective ways to avoid buyer’s remorse.

What is a Survey Plan?

A survey plan, also known as a land survey, property survey, Surveyor’s Real Property Report, and building location survey, is a diagrammatic representation of a property and all it’s physical features.  It shows the physical extent of the property – the boundary – with all the buildings, structures, fences, decks, pool, and major landscaping. A survey plan is a legal document that represents the professional opinion of the Ontario Land Surveyor whose signature is on the plan.  As such it is the most accurate representation of your property at the time the plan was created.

Why is a Survey Plan important for buyers? 

When you’re buying a property you have certain expectations and plans on how you will live and use the property, and even what changed and additions you will make.  When it comes to your intended use of land for the outside – whether it’s building an addition, putting a pool in or just replacing the fence – knowing exactly what you own is imperative.  Only a land survey plan can confirm for you the “extent of title”, the physical limits of the property.

What will a survey plan tell me about the property I’m buying?

A land survey will show you the exact location of the property boundary, and the buildings, structures, fences, decks etc, in relation to that boundary.  At a glance you’ll see if the fence is on the property line (98% are not), and whether there are any encroachments on the property. 

Will a survey plan show me easement issues?

A survey plan will show the outline of any easements that affect the property.  In combination with the legal description, you will know exactly if and how the property is encumbered by any easements.  This is crucial because easements can drastically affect how you use your property and what you build on it. 

Can I use an old survey or do I have to get a new one?

Getting a new survey done as part of your buying process is too time consuming and expensive for most buyers.  However, a historical survey can be equally useful and is much less expensive and usually available instantly at

Survey plans are a snapshot of a property at the time they were created.  Therefore, you must always take into account that, for example, the fence that is on the property today is the same one as a 10-year-old survey shows being a foot into your property.  If it is the same on, then you’ve identified a challenge or an opportunity!

Do Realtors Know to use Survey Plans?

The very best Realtors do.  Those that have taken the BoundaryWise Academy courses and have earned the CBW (Certified BoundaryWise) professional accreditation are your best bet. 

Where can I find a survey plan for my property?

Visit to browse and purchase from the largest collection of residential and commercial survey plans in Ontario.