A real estate survey is a measurement of land, prepared by a registered land surveyor, showing the location of the land with reference to known points, its dimensions, and the location and dimensions of any buildings. All surveys start with a known, defined point. This may be a benchmark set by the government, or a point located by another surveying firm. From this defined point, the surveyor uses angles, distances and elevations to locate other points. By doing this the surveyor can determine if the property lines are correct or establish them.
It is an all-over health check on a property, which tells you its exact current structural state. They are mainly performed when the property is about to be sold, and can often save the buyer money if there are any major structural problems, as a survey can bring about a change in the sale price. They should be performed before any contracts are exchanged on the property. A survey may also sometimes make the buyer decide that they do not want to purchase the property after all. The survey will be performed on all parts of the property which he or she can access.