The Land Title Survey - I'm Selling/I'm Buying

Rich Wagner – Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) are the two entities that defined the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for Land Title Surveys. These standards are recognized nationally and result in a survey map which is a visual reflection of the Title Policy. This map shows the surficial features on, above and possibly below the subject property, encumbrances, rights of others, easements or evidence of easements and often require optional Table A items. When ordering an ALTA, the information you share with your surveyor can be quite different and depends on several factors. Are you selling…or are you buying?

I’m selling: If you have agreed to provide an ALTA survey for the buyer, your responsibility may be a standard ALTA survey (no Table A items). However, you may have negotiated additional requirements in accordance with Table A. The type of financing will dictate the level of detail for the ALTA. Confirm these details with the buyer and the lender and relay that information to your surveyor.

I’m buying: If you are financing the land acquisition and are planning site improvements, additions, ground-up development, or any other property changes, relate your acquisition and/or development goals to the surveyor. If you are planning an acquisition only, a Standard ALTA will likely be satisfactory. If you are planning on site development and need design level information to make final decisions related to the feasibility of the acquisition and development, the optional Table A would be the tool to add all of the needed design items. A brief list of those items are listed below:

Standard ALTA:
– Visible utility features will be mapped (manholes, hydrants, pedestal’s, etc)
– Parcel boundary and land title issues

Table A:
– Vertical information on ground surface
– Dimensioned existing buildings, parking stall counts
– Existing public plans
– Subsurface utility structure details (Observe invert and pipe sizing)
– Private utility locate for private on-site utilities
– Execution of a Digger’s Hotline utility locate and the mapping of the marked public utility lines

Note that the client is required to supply the surveyor with a current title commitment, copies of all related documents, and a zoning letter if zoning is required. This is only a short outline to assist in your decisions. Click here for requirements of the ALTA survey in detail, based on 2021 standards, along with optional Table A items. If in doubt give us a call for some help!