April 9, 2024

Three ways you can mitigate risk with ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys

two surveyors wearing neon safety vests and hard hats recording measurements two surveyors wearing neon safety vests and hard hats recording measurements

Written by Chris Amborun, Local Survey Service Leader

ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, often referred to as ALTA Surveys, are an important part of the commercial, industrial, and residential real estate due diligence process, especially on high-value properties. Let’s explore three ways an ALTA Survey can help mitigate risk and get your project going.

1. Uncover hidden risks

The due diligence process is intrinsic to the buying and selling of real property, especially those of high value. In this phase, owners and developers collect information to make educated decisions regarding the risks associated with purchasing the property. The due diligence process documents issues already known about the property and looks for unknown issues that can cause delays or even prohibit the transaction. One of the most overlooked parts of the process is the land survey.

Title insurance covers problems with the property related to defective deeds and titles but excepts out “survey related” items such as possible encroachments by neighbors, erroneous fence lines, lack of access, use of the property by others, and more. Obtaining an ALTA Survey provides the Title Company and Lender with the assurance needed to remove the survey exception from the Title Policy and ensure that physical issues with the property are properly insured and disclosed, allowing the buyer, lender, and seller to have greater confidence in the sale and future use of the property.

2. Understand not all surveys are created equal

Many surveyors treat ALTA Surveys as just another property boundary survey. We understand the important role of the ALTA Survey in a real estate transaction and how the information included in the survey can impact the purchase and use of the property. A variety of factors determine the contents of a land survey. 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, the information may be lacking or useless.

We take the time to learn about the transaction and any proposed re-development plans. This helps us ensure our scope of services and the end deliverable contain everything needed for our clients to make the best decisions. Additionally, we understand how the due diligence timelines for real estate transactions can be aggressive. We have the nationwide resources and decades of expertise to move quickly to meet your deadlines. Our in-depth understanding of the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys helps us ensure that the final survey map includes all of the information needed by the Title Company and Lender, helping eliminate costly last-minute delays.

3. Use it as an important negotiation tool

Smart investors understand the value of an ALTA Survey in the due diligence process. It provides valuable information that can contribute to the negotiation process and helps uncover costly issues before it's too late. Depending on the project, investing in an ALTA Survey can be one of the best initial decisions you make for your property investment, even long after closing.

Our team completes several hundred ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys across the country each year, giving us a wealth of experience in various site situations; this is a significant advantage to our clients. Reach out to a team member to learn how an ALTA Survey can benefit your project.

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