An ALTA survey is a boundary survey prepared to a set of minimum standards that have been jointly adopted by the American Land Title Associate and National Society of Professional Surveyors also known as ALTA/NSPS. Additionally, an ALTA survey shows on-site existing improvements, easements, rights-of-way, and other elements impacting the ownership of land. An ALTA Survey is often prepared for commercial properties, as it will provide the title company with the information required to insure the title to the land to the highest degree that a commercial property may require. In addition to the minimum standard items optional Table A items are included in the ALTA/NSPS standards. A careful review of the items from the optional "Table A Items" is helpful in delineating a clear scope of the land surveyor's services.
A current title commitment is required before an ALTA Survey can be completed and certified. The surveyor will refer to the title commitment for the legal description of the property and for the legal description of any encumbrances (exceptions). Areas of ownership, improvements, and encumbrances will be shown graphically. If the survey discovers any possible encroachments, they are shown graphically, and a note indicating the nature of the encroachment will be added.
The certification language of the ALTA Survey includes the names of the affected parties; including the buyer, seller, Title Company, and lender. The surveyor must work in close association with the title insurance company, as the surveyor and the title company are relying on each other's work to show the matters affecting the ownership of the land and improvements in a comprehensive manner.
An ALTA land survey has especially stringent requirements as developed by a joint effort of the American Land Title Association and the National Society of Professional Surveyors, Inc ALTA/NSPS. The ALTA standards are a nationwide uniform set of standards. Sometimes this survey type is referred to as the "Cadillac of surveys". The survey is specifically designed to satisfy the particular needs of lenders, corporations, title companies and individuals when dealing with any real estate property.
Note: Table A items may be negotiated between the surveyor and client. Any additional items negotiated between the surveyor and client shall be identified as 21(a), 21(b), etc. and explained pursuant to Section 6.D.ii.(g). Notwithstanding Table A Items 5 and 11, if an engineering design survey is desired as part of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, such services should be negotiated under Table A, Item 21.
Certification: The plat or map of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey shall bear only the following certification, unaltered, except as may be required pursuant to Section 3.B. in the above document:
To (name of insured, if known), (name of lender, if known), (name of insurer, if known), (names of others as negotiated with the client): This is to certify that this map or plat and the survey on which it is based were made in accordance with the 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, jointly established and adopted by ALTA and NSPS, and includes items ____________________________________ of Table A thereof. The fieldwork was completed on ___________ (date). Date of Plat or Map: __________ (Surveyor’s signature, printed name and seal with Registration/License Number)
Client Review Minimum Standard Detail Requirements For ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys (Effective February 23, 2016)
2. Request for Survey: The client shall request the survey, or arrange for the survey to be requested, and shall provide a written authorization to proceed from the person or entity responsible for paying for the survey. Unless specifically authorized in writing by the insurer, the insurer shall not be responsible for any costs associated with the preparation of the survey. The request shall specify that an "ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEY" is required and which of the optional items listed in Table A, if any, are to be incorporated. Certain properties or interests in real properties may present issues outside those normally encountered on an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey (e.g., marinas, campgrounds, trailer parks; easements, leases, other non-fee simple interests). The scope of work related to surveys of such properties or interests in real properties should be discussed with the client, lender, and insurer; and agreed upon in writing prior to commencing work on the survey. The client may need to secure permission for the surveyor to enter upon the property to be surveyed, adjoining properties, or offsite easements.
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