14B — October 27 - November 9, 2017 — Ask The Experts— Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic
Real Estate Journal
A sk T he E xperts
By Daniel J. Caldwell, Stout & Caldwell, LLC An ALTA Survey What is it and why does it matter?
yond a standard state-dictated boundary survey and requires surveyors collect and document data from a combination of re- cords and fieldwork that support the needs of title companies and real property insurance require- ments. These more detailed survey standards are national and include a multi-part, multi- dimensional process. The result is a survey in which clients, insurers, insureds and lend- ers can be ensured uniformity, completeness and accuracy of the standards set forth and information discovered.
burdening the property and any unrecorded documents af- fecting the land. Fieldwork – On the ground fieldwork is performed based on the planned or existing use of the property being sur- veyed as defined by the client, lender or insurer. The detailed survey will include location, size, character and type of any monuments as well as boundary control lines. It will also outline rights of way and access, including distances, street names, curbs, driveways, visible footpaths, waterways and any such access points of adjourning properties. ALTA fieldwork must detail the any lines of possession along the property’s perimeter as well as walls, fences and other improvements within five feet of each side of the bound- ary. All buildings must be cited as well as evidence of any above and/or belowground ease- ments or servitudes burdening the surveyed property. Other inclusions are the notation of cemeteries and water features. Plat or Map – All ALTA surveys are required to have the preparation of a plat or map, which illustrates details from both the records research and fieldwork efforts based on the planned or existing use of the property. This document is designed to show evidence and locations gathered, including monuments and lines; bound- ary, descriptions, dimensions and closures; and, easements, servitudes, rights of way and other visible access points. Once complete, the plat or map is certified by the professional surveyor with their name, sig- nature and registration/license number seal. Additional Options – From time to time, clients and/or lenders may request additional survey responsibilities and specifications to be part of the final deliverables. These options include monuments placed at all major corners of the boundary of the property, address(es) of the surveyed site, flood zone details and gross land area. It can also encompass vertical relief in- formation, zoning report(s), building height and exterior dimensions, parking spaces, utilities markers, wetlands delineation and other sub- stantial features observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork. continued on page 17B
imply defined, an ALTA survey is a boundary sur- vey plus a lot more ~
system, there is no guarantee of ownership of real property. A deed alone is only evidence that it might be owned. That’s when title insurance comes into play. Since a bank will not lend money to purchase or develop real property un- less it is provided a title policy to insure its investment, the ALTA was designed to estab- lish “a level of standards that all parties in the commercial transaction are ensured a com- mon standard.” With that purpose in mind, the ALTA survey expands be-
AT-A-GLANCE: Minimum Standard of Performance for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys (2016) Records Research – The first component to any ALTA survey is the pre-survey gath- ering of extensive county/ municipal public and private records. Key in the discovery is the title commitment and current record description of the property to be surveyed or its parent parcel. Surveyors will also collect record descrip- tions of any property adjoiners, easements benefitting and/or
one that ad- heres to a set of minimum standards es- tablished by the American Land Ti t l e Association (ALTA) and the American
Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) in order to overcome the inherent fact that in today’s US land tenure
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