We are in the process of purchasing a new home and our realtor has suggested we request a survey of the property as one of the conditions in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Although the market is not as competitive with respect to multiple bidding as it used to be, we want to make our offer as clean as possible. Is it necessary to obtain a survey?
If a survey is available and will not jeopardize your bid for the house by adding an unnecessary condition, it is always a good idea to obtain the official survey of your home, even if it's just for your records.
However, with the advent of title insurance, the absolute requirement for a survey has greatly decreased. The financial institution which is providing your mortgage used to require an up-to-date survey, but they are now accepting proof of title insurance on the property in lieu of this requirement.
There are still situations in which a survey is necessary. One of them is if you are planning on doing any construction, such as adding an addition to the house. If the vendor has an original of the survey which accurately reflects the present footprint of the house and the lot dimensions, then you could be saving yourself the cost of a survey. Also, if there are complex lot dimensions, easements and variances with respect to the property, it often is extremely useful to have these mapped out for you and your lawyer to examine.
If in doubt, ask your lawyer. They should be able to assist you with the decision of whether to ask or not to ask.