Know Your Boundaries: Top 6 Reasons to Order a Property Survey

When you purchase a home or piece of land, the title company leading the real estate transaction will at some point request a copy of the property survey. Surveys are significant to the home buyer, clearly identifying property boundaries and legal points of which to be aware.

There are several factors of importance title companies attach to the confines of a property in question, the least of which is to add to settlement costs. If you can obtain the original survey from public record, good for you – you may save yourself some money. However, in the event the original survey can’t be located (too far buried or no longer accessible) or the lender requires a more recent document, ordering a survey on the property will be necessary. Here’s why:

Top 6 Reasons a Property Survey Is Necessary

Utility and Municipality Claims: Recording the location of utility pipes, wires and other equipment is especially important prior to any type of construction, but it also determines if a utility provider or municipality has certain rights to utilize your property to maintain services. The location of easements, right-of-ways and the like must be made obvious to all parties affected by the property.

Exact Demarcation of Boundary Lines: Knowing where the property lines begin and end is crucial in establishing the value of the property, among other factors – such as avoiding future boundary disputes.

Presence of Burial Grounds: A land survey provides information on the presence of cemeteries or burial grounds on the property, areas in which building or landscaping may be prohibited.

Zoning Classifications/Restrictions: Understanding zoning classifications and restrictions governing the property assists in knowing exactly how the property can be used according to city, county and/or state law.

Standing Property Improvements/Renovations: A survey will determine if any improvements or renovations having occurred on or to the property fall within legal parameters, and whether any changes need to be made to the property to comply with laws governing the land and any structures.

Encroachment/Joint Structures: It’s important to identify areas of encroachment (for instance, a neighbor’s shed that sits partially on your property) or the sharing of structures between two or more properties. Dealing with such issues now can save you money and legal headaches down the road.

There are certainly other considerations that go into a property survey (particularly if you plan to add a pool, fence or other structures in the future), underscoring the need to hire a professional to cover all concerns affecting this critical document. For more information on property surveys or assistance with hiring the right professional for the job, contact Linear Title & Escrow today at (757) 340-0340.


Lender’s vs. Owner’s Title Insurance: Is Either Necessary?

We talk a great deal about the importance of purchasing title insurance, but can passing over such a policy truly place your client’s property and finances in peril if they fail to purchase? In short? Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt.

As you likely know, title insurance protects parties on either side of the real estate contract from caustic infractions that can render a title problematic. However, your clients may not be aware that such a policy (or a need for one) even exists – especially first time home buyers. Whether you’ve been in the business for a short time or more years than you care to divulge, maintaining a thorough understanding and healthy respect for title insurance is crucial as you navigate your valued clients through the home buying experience.

Understanding Each Policy Type

First, let’s delve into the difference between a lender’s policy and an owner’s policy. Often referred to as a “Loan Policy,” lender’s insurance covers the financial interests of the lender in accordance with the dollar amount owed on the home loan. In no way does it protect your client’s interests in the property. Even if your client’s lender requires the purchase of a Loan Policy, and they will, your client’s interests in the property still need the protection of an owner’s policy. The owner’s policy covers the amount of the real estate purchase (or up to this amount) in the event the title is deemed unmarketable or defective following closing. Both policy types are vital to their respective parties and necessary to protect against potential financial losses resulting from issues undiscovered during the title search.

Consider the following breakdown of each policy type:

  • Lender’s Policy: Protects the mortgage lender’s financial interests for the remaining dollar amount of the loan.
  • Owner’s Policy: Protects the homeowner’s/buyer’s financial interests up to the amount of the real estate transaction.

Factors With Potential to Affect Title

Even when a title search is performed by the best of the best, certain factors may be overlooked unknowingly or completely undiscoverable at the time. A sample of such factors are included below (for a more comprehensive list, visit our Title Insurance page:

  • Fraudulent actions
  • Forgery
  • Missing or undisclosed heirs to the property
  • Improper delivery of deeds
  • Unpaid property liens, judgments, assessments or taxes
  • Inaccurate or unlawful property descriptions
  • Inaccurate or unlawful execution of documents
  • Conveyance of a property by a person deemed legally incompetent or a minor

Buying Peace of Mind for Both Parties

Essentially, lender’s and owner’s title insurance policies are equally important portions of a title insurance package. Purchasing title insurance incurs a one-time payment, unless the property is ever refinanced (in which case, a new title insurance policy would be necessary). Though ultimately the responsibility of the buyer, the premium for this policy may be negotiated between the buyer and seller prior to closing. In any case, title insurance affords protection of associated assets and ultimately peace of mind for parties on both sides of the transaction.

The more you know, the more your clients trust you. For more information on title insurance, visit our Title Insurance page or contact us at (757) 340-0340 today.