Victor’s Insider Scoop on 21 Secrets To Make Sure Your Surveyor Includes In Your Next A.L.T.A. Survey …
March 1st, 2009 | top of page

1. Is there an accurate north arrow on the survey?
2. If there are any symbols not described in a key or if there is any information you don’t understand, consult with the surveyor.
3. Does the survey contain any undedicated roads? If yes, investigate further as this may support a third party’s claim of access through the property.
4. Does the survey show any fences? Fences are rarely exactly on property lines and may presage adverse claims, boundary-line problems, or agreements contrary to title information. It may be necessary to obtain a boundary-line agreement with adjacent property owner(s).
5. Does the survey have overlapping easements or improvements that overlap any easements?
6. Is the survey stamped with surveyor’s professional seal? Did the surveyor sign across his seal?
7. Is the area of the tract surveyed stated on the survey? (esp. if the contract purchase price is calculated from the area or if permitting the property for planned uses requires a minimum area).
8. Does the legal description on the survey match the legal description in the title report?
9. Is the surveyor’s inspection report and certificate included?
10. Are building setbacks in compliance with any protective covenants? If not, a waiver may be required.
11. Is the survey classified? (if state has minimum standards requirements.)
12. Is the address on the survey the same as that given by the lender? Any street names should match those in the recorded subdivision plat.
13. Is the survey is dated?
14. Are there any improvements on the surveyed property that encroach onto an adjoining property? This condition may result in litigation from the adjacent property owner; an encroachment agreement may be required.
15. Is Flood-Zone Certification stipulated? (Zone A: usually needs flood insurance; Zone B: the lender may require flood insurance; Zone C or X: flood insurance is not required.)
16. Does the survey show any gaps or spaces between parcels thought to be contiguous? These conditions may prevent the owner from developing the property as anticipated.
17. Carefully review all of the surveyor’s Notes. Are there signs of any unexpected or unauthorized uses of or conditions on the property? The existence of wetlands, historical, or archeological sites may be cause for concern. Any agricultural uses may be a sign of possession inconsistent with record ownership. If any of these conditions exist, contact the surveyor and, more importantly, the appropriate governmental agencies.
18. Are easements and other matters listed on the title report shown on the survey? Are there easements shown on the survey that are not listed in the title report? These issues may harbor potential litigation or they may interfere with a development plan.
19. Does the surveyed property have direct access to a public street? If not, is there a recorded easement shown on the survey that provides access to a public street?
20. Are there any improvements from adjacent properties encroaching onto the surveyed property? Any such encroachments might result in litigated claims to a portion of the surveyed property; an encroachment agreement may be required.
21. If the survey shows any unusual conditions or problems, the surveyor may require the client to execute a survey acceptance letter.
Bibliography: Real Estate Closing Deskbook, 2nd Edition – A Lawyer’s Reference Guide & State by State Summary; pp38-39, by K.F. Boackle.

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