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Title Tuesday #5 



"Title Tuesday" continues with an overview of Surveys. 

We will look at what a survey is and the benefits it provides.  As well as the general survey guidelines and process.  We will also take a look at an example of homeowners that benefited greatly from having a survey of their property.




A picture is worth a thousand words

A survey can bring to light matters that can raise issues concerning the marketability of title.



The purpose of a survey is to depict in diagram form a representation of the property, the improvement's thereon and other issues that affect title to a property. 

A licensed land surveyor will prepare and certify the survey.  Certifications often include the name of insured, name of lender, name of Title Co., name of underwriter and any other names requested by the client.





Five Reasons for Obtaining a New Survey

1. To establish the existence of the property  

It is not enough for a legal description to be included in the deed.  A surveyor must also be able to use that description to actually locate the property on the ground and also verify if the description reasonably conforms to the physical ground and that the description properly closes.   

2. Establish the relationship of the property to adjoining properties 

Locating the lines described in a deed on the ground is not adequate to establish the physical limits of a property owner’s interest. All parcels of land exist in relation to the parcels surrounding them.  

3. Establish the Relationship of Occupied Lines to Record Lines.

Discrepancies between possession and the record lines can be minor variations of fence location or substantial encroachments and out of possession issues.  

4. The Location of Physical Improvements.  

Addresses the relationship of all physical improvements on the parcel to the boundary lines of the parcel which can include fences, walls, driveways, buildings, structures, natural features, etc.  Confirm that these improvements on the land do not interfere with any easements or rights of way. 

5. Unrecorded Easements and Other Facts Not of Record. 

Surveyor physically on the property can sometimes identify factors effecting the premises such as access or rights of the neighboring premises  




Record lines are the boundary lines of the property.  The survey will show where the structures are located and if there are any variations or encroachments.  For example, a fence or row of hedges may vary with the property line.  A shed, patio, or deck may cross the property line onto or from the neighboring property.  These are all issues that once identified by the survey will be read into the title report and the attorneys, with the assistance of title counsel, will work to resolve.





Surveys Reveal: EASEMENTS 

The survey reveals easements that are of record.  Easements are defined as an interest in land owned by another person, consisting of the right to use or control the land, or an area above or below it, for a specific limited purpose (such as to cross it for access to a public road). This right may be for such purposes as access, driveway, party wall, drainage, public utilities or other purposes.  Easements may burden or benefit the premises and may effect the value and use of the land.





In general on the purchase of a single or multi family home - YES


•A new survey can be ordered from a surveyor,  Typically three price quotes are obtained from surveyors and the buyer's will select the surveyor.  

•The title company can attempt to find an existing survey from the prior title company or the seller's attorney
•If an old survey is available and meets underwriting requirements it can be “INSPECTED”.  Some requirements include that it contains a north arrow, a completed dwelling (not proposed), and the surveyors name.  A Survey Inspection is a visual inspection of the premises and is not conducted by a surveyor. 

•No survey = “Policy excepts any state of facts an accurate survey would reveal”
•Condo’s do not require a survey

•Survey is read into the title report
•Variations shown are an exception from coverage




 Title Insurance Saved the Day!


Scenario #1: “Excuse me, your pool is on my property”

In this scenario a home buyer finds his dream home.  A 1 acre triangular piece of property.  The house was located on the front portion of the land at the base of the triangle.  At the back of the yard the property became densely wooded as the triangle came to the point.  The home buyer contacted a title company to do a title search on the property.  A new survey was ordered.  As the surveyor confirmed the record lines of title and located the structures on the land he made an interesting discovery.  At the back of the property at the point of the triangle he found that the neighbors pool was on the property!  

The attorneys, together with the title company's legal counsel confirmed that the neighboring property's survey also showed the encroachment of the pool and that it was built outside of the bounds of their land.  To rectify this situation the current owner of the home that was selling the house agreed to sell a portion of the land to the neighboring home owner.  The new home buyer was then able to purchase the amended portion of land that did not include the neighbors pool.