Importance of a Survey to Title Insurance

Land surveys play an important role in both residential and commercial real estate transactions, to both the parties involved in the transaction and the title company insuring the land. While title insurance does not necessarily require a survey, without a valid mortgage location, your title insurance may not cover any problems that would have been revealed by a survey. 

Why do you need title insurance?

Title insurance allows you to confidently buy real property, or to obtain a loan to buy or develop real property, as it provides some assurance that one’s investment is not at risk. Lenders often require title insurance to ensure that the real property collateral is protected, as well as a land survey that can uncover unforeseen problems that could be detrimental to the integrity of a property’s title. 

Why is a land survey important for title insurance?

Buying a house is oftentimes an individual’s largest investment, and a land survey helps to protect that investment and provide you with peace of mind that both now, and down the road your property is protected. 

Old surveys, fences and trees, or even the previous landowners’ assurance do not establish the exact boundaries of a property, only a land survey can do that. A land survey – and particularly a mortgage location for residential real estate transactions – is a detailed map or drawing of a property that shows its boundaries per a provided legal description, location of buildings and improvements, and other relevant features.  

It can be useful in identifying any encroachments or other land title concerns that may affect the property. In addition, a land survey can provide additional important pieces of information needed for the closing including, but not limited to: 

  • Confirming the correct property is being sold or mortgaged and insured 
  • Confirming the dimensions of the property 
  • Plotting easements of record such as for utilities and access provided from the title search; 
  • Detailing encroachments that affect the property. 

Selecting the right land surveyor

With the land survey playing such a critical role in a real estate transaction, it is essential to know how to select the right land surveyor. Here are a few key features that title insurance agents should consider when selecting a land surveyor.  

  • Accuracy and Reliability: The most critical factor is the accuracy of the land survey. It should provide precise measurements including any encroachments or easements. Reliability ensures that the survey company can be trusted to provide consistent and dependable results. 
  • Experience and Expertise: Of course, directly related to the reliability of the survey is a result of the experience and expertise of the surveyor. Experienced surveyors are more likely to understand local regulations and potential issues that may arise during the survey process. 
  • Professional Surveyors: Ensure that the survey company employs licensed and certified surveyors who meet the necessary qualifications and standards set by relevant authorities. This ensures that the survey work is conducted by professionals with the appropriate knowledge and skills. 
  • Advanced Technology: While the basics of surveying have stayed the same, the tools of surveying today are much more technical than they once were. Technology is evolving on an almost daily basis, making things quicker, more efficient, more detailed, and more accurate. It is essential to work with a land surveyor who uses the most advanced technology.   
  • Timeliness and Efficiency: The survey company should have a track record of delivering surveys in a timely manner. Delays in obtaining survey results can slow down the real estate transaction process. 
  • Transparent Pricing: Clear and transparent pricing is crucial. Title insurance agents should understand the cost of the survey upfront and any potential additional charges for specific services or challenges that may arise during the survey. 
  • Adherence to Industry Standards: The survey company should follow industry standards and best practices, such as those set by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) or state-specific surveying associations. 

With 50+ years of experience in surveying in all 88 counties of Ohio and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, McSteen is a leader in the industry. Contact us for more information about land surveys or Get a Free Quote and let our team of survey professionals take care of your surveying needs. 

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