When Do You Need an ALTA Survey?

When buying a piece of property, you might be asked by a lender or title company to have an ALTA survey conducted on the land. What does this mean, specifically, and when is it necessary to have an ALTA survey performed?

An ALTA Survey is a detailed survey performed by a registered licensed surveyor, prepared in accordance with the standards specified by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). An ALTA Survey shows the boundaries of the property, the location of improvements on the subject property, including any and all structures, fences, utility lines, roads, etc., along with the location of any/all easements. This is one of the most detailed surveys available, often at a greater cost than other survey types, and while it’s not mandated for every land purchase, there are certainly times when you should consider paying the extra money for an ALTA survey. Below are a few instances in which this type of survey is either required or recommended.

When buying or selling commercial real estate

Title insurance companies and/or lenders typically require an ALTA survey to be performed whenever a piece of commercial property is being refinanced or exchanging hands. This is because commercial purchases often come with certain “survey risks” that may include boundary line disputes, encroachments, or other conditions and/or circumstances such as easements or claims of easements not found in public records. This information can often make or break an acquisition, or at least complicate matters greatly. An ALTA survey reveals the existence of any problems that would need to be resolved, and helps ensure that the property is clear of risk prior to purchase. By the same token, if you’re selling a piece of commercial property, it’s wise to have an ALTA survey performed just to have a record for comparison against the buyer’s survey.

When buying a piece of vacant land

If you’re buying vacant land, an ALTA survey may also be recommended, if not required. While a simple boundary survey might be the minimum requirement here, often vacant land has either never been surveyed or was surveyed long ago when technologies were far less accurate. This means there could be boundary, ownership or encroachment issues that are unknown at the time of purchase but could come back to haunt you later. An ALTA survey provides the deeper research needed to uncover and resolve these issues before the purchase is made.

Whenever you want more detailed information about a piece of land you own or plan to buy

Simply put, the more detailed a survey is, the more protection it provides. Anytime you have concerns about boundary lines or possible disputes, an ALTA survey can reveal those issues, or at least put your mind at ease.

Contact Point to Point Land Surveyors, Inc. today to learn more about ALTA surveys and how they can benefit you