3 Easy Steps of How to Review a Survey Correctly

How sure are you that you’re properly reviewing a survey?

Most lenders and sophisticated buyers require a survey to be obtained in conjunction with a real estate transaction.  The survey is provided to the title agent so that the “Standard Survey Exception” may be deleted altogether or replaced with a “Specific Survey Exception”.  The process of removing the Standard Survey Exception requires that the closing agent review the survey to:

1.  Verify that the survey meets the typical requirements of a title insurance underwriter, and;
2.  Identify any matters that may adversely affect the property.

Requirements of a Survey

An underwriter will typically require that a survey have the following elements:

1. North Line
2. Legal Description
3. Boundaries
4. Improvements
5. Title Commitment Matters
6. Proper Certification, Standards and Form

Specific Survey Matters

After it’s been confirmed that the survey contains the above basic requirements, now review the specific matters of the survey to possibly identify any defects. Some examples of matters to look for include:

1. Legal Access
2. Easement Encroachments
3. Setback Violations

Updating a Survey via Affidavit

The title insurance underwriter typically requires that the survey be no more than 90 days old from the date of closing.  If the survey was performed before then, the closing agent will need to contact the surveyor to have them update the date on their final survey.

In situations where a survey was previously performed on the property, the underwriter will typically rely on a Survey Affidavit stating that nothing has changed from the date of the survey through current.    If improvements have been made, or the owner will not execute the affidavit, the original survey will need to be updated by the surveyor or a new survey performed.  The underwriter will usually not require that the survey be re-certified to the underwriter when relying on a prior survey.

How an Expert Reviews a Survey

Looking for more specific information on how to confirm the survey meets the title requirements and what specific matters to look for?  Our eBook provides a comprehensive analysis including a mock survey together with a detailed review.  A great resource for title agents or property owners.

  • Types of surveys
  • Survey requirements
  • Survey defects to look for
  • Creating a specific survey exception
  • Surveys and Endorsements
  • Mock Survey Map and Sample Analysis
  • Survey Affidavit.  WORD copy included
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