Saturday, December 1, 2012

Do you do business on a wing and a prayer? Probably not, so why would you buy property that way?

Upon taking a new listing, in the Virgin Islands, I like to gather as much information in preparation for the closing. One item I like to have is a Land Title Survey or As Built Survey. This lets potential buyers know in advance where exactly the dwelling sits on the lot relative to the boundaries.

There are a number of good surveyors on the island, an icon in the community is a firm called Brian Moseley and Associates, Inc. Land and Surveyors and Consultants. Their office is located on Rahpune Hill in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. They work on St. John and St.Croix also.  Ryan Wisehart is the principle and David Starshark is their CAD technician. The office is open and welcoming when you walk-in you will be greeted with a smile and the manner is always gracious. They will supply copies of surveys and send you a copy in a PDF which is great for attaching them to your listings.

Brian Moseley & Associates is a members of the National Society of Professional Surveyors and the Virgin Islands Board of Architects - Engineers and Land Surveyors.

When selling a home or lot of land in the Virgin Islands, owners are normally required to expose the "four corners" of the property, usually indicated by flagged stakes.

When buying a home or lot of land in the Virgin Islands, it is wise to have a full survey done. It not only documents the quantity of land being conveyed but many times it will expose any encroachments or easements that could exist and may not be apparent without the survey. The survey will also indicate the location of utilities, buildings and access, if any, relevant to the parcel. If your are financing the property the lending institution will require a Land Title Survey.

If you purchase a vacant lot and you decide to improve your land, plans for homes usually start with a Topographical Survey. It helps the architect understand the features of the land. A Topographical Survey shows the elevations, contours and substantial rocks (prevalent in the Virgin Islands) trees, roads and drainage. All of this information is essential in determining where the home, driveway and drainage will work best on the lot.

Investors in the Virgin Islands who purchase larger parcels of land and want to subdivide it into multiple parcels will hire a Professional Land Surveyor to assist in determining the potential for dividing the property and preparing plans for developing parcels and roads.

Another area a Professional Land Surveyors is useful is determining if your property is within a flood prone area. It will determine if you will need to secure flood insurance and determining the appropriate insurance premium.

Surveys cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to thousands depending on the type of survey, terrain, location and ground cover. As with any service you should discuss costs up front and get an estimate. Keep in mind it is similar to an insurance that will protect you against costly problems in the future.

The conduct of a Professional Land Surveyor in the Virgin Islands is governed by territorial laws and professional code of ethics. A Professional Land Surveyor is an expert at interpreting descriptions of property and is uniquely qualified to accurately and precisely locate property lines.

When buying or sell property in the Virgin Islands, you should  make a Professional Land Surveyor, like Brian Moseley & Associates part of your real estate team. They can be reached at (340) 776 4090. or e-mailed at

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