September 16, 2021

3 Reasons Why an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Is Key to Your Commercial Project

Survey, Surveying, ALTA/NSPS

As fall and year-end approaches, transactions for commercial real estate are heating up. Buyers, sellers, and developers are eager to finalize real estate deals, complete refinancing, and begin new projects. Doing your due diligence during the transaction process is key.

ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, often referred to as ALTA Surveys, are an important part of the commercial real estate due diligence process, especially on high-value properties. A thorough understanding of the process can greatly enhance the chances of success. Let’s explore the three reasons why an ALTA Survey can benefit a project.

1. The things we can’t see create the most risk

Intrinsic to the buying and selling of real property, especially those of high value, is the due diligence process. In this phase, owners and developers collect information to make educated decisions regarding the potential purchase of the property. The due diligence process not only documents things that may be already known but provides a means to mitigate risk by uncovering things that may be otherwise hidden. One of the most overlooked parts of the process is the land survey.

While buyers and sellers can access, and review risks related to public records (e.g. easements, covenants, restrictions, etc.), they cannot gauge potential risks related to the physical improvements upon a property without an accurate survey. What if there is a fence over the property line?  Are other people using the property for ingress and egress?  These questions, and many others, can be addressed with a current survey of the property. The ALTA survey provides the stakeholders with a wholistic picture of risks related to a piece of property by combining records, research, and analysis with field work and mapping.

2. Not all surveyors produce the same product

Not all surveys are created equal. Most don’t realize that the contents of a land survey are determined by a variety of factors. Some of these factors include who’s preparing the survey, what state or jurisdiction the survey is prepared in, and what the survey is being used for. If the surveyor and client aren’t on the same page regarding what the survey is for, information may be lacking or worse, useless.

The Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys have become the bridge that has allowed all parties involved in a real estate transaction to understand a piece of real property on common terms. A national set of standards helps to get all stakeholders on the same page and provides a consistent framework for the preparation and presentation of the ALTA survey, helping eliminate costly mistakes or delays.

3. More tools for the negotiating process

Smart investors will understand the value of an ALTA Survey as it relates to the due diligence process. It gives them a tool to not only discover and address costly issues before it’s too late but provide valuable information that may contribute to the property negotiation process. Depending on the project, it might be one of the best initial investment decisions.

Westwood completes several hundred ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys each year to support its clients. As a result, Westwood surveyors have engaged in almost every site situation imaginable; this is a significant advantage to Westwood’s clients. Reach out to a Westwood team member to learn how an ALTA Survey can benefit your project.

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