If you are buying acreage or commercial
property, you will probably want to have the property surveyed.
If you are buying extended coverage title insurance, you must
have it surveyed, because the title insurance company will
The survey is important because it discloses the exact physical
location of the property, its size, any encroachments, and
the location of easements, buildings, wells, ponds, driveways,
dedicated roads, setback lines, and other physical features
of the property.
If you intend to require another party (such as the seller)
to provide you with a survey, or if you order one yourself,
you need to specify exactly what you want, because there are
different types of surveys for different purposes. To begin
with, you should normally specify that you need an “ALTA/ACSM
land title survey.” This is the kind of survey you will
need if you desire to purchase an extended coverage policy
of title insurance, and it is probably the kind of survey
you will want anyway because it meets the strictest standards
of accuracy and disclosure.
You must also determine the class of survey that you want.
There are four classes of ALTA/ACSM land title surveys normally
prepared in connection with the purchase of real estate. They
are as follows:
Class A - Urban Surveys: These are normally
surveys of land lying within or adjoining a city or town.
They may also be used for surveys of commercial or industrial
properties, condominiums, and apartments.
Class B - Suburban Surveys: These are normally
surveys of land lying outside of urban areas, often for single-family
Class C - Rural Surveys: These are generally
used for surveys of land such as farms and other undeveloped
land lying outside of suburban areas that may have a potential
for future development.
Class D - Mountain and Marshlands Surveys:
These are surveys of lands in remote areas with difficult
terrain and which usually have limited potential for development.
Surveys are usually not required for single-family homes unless
a large lot is involved or there is reason to suspect a problem.
If you are purchasing a survey or requiring someone else to
purchase one for you, be sure to specify exactly the kind
of survey you want, and require that it be current - no more
than six months old. By knowing what to ask for, you will
get the survey you need without unnecessarily wasting time
or money on a survey that is unsuitable for your purposes.
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