Land surveys that follow standards laid forth by the American Land Title Association—ALTA surveys—might not mean much to you right now. However, when selling or acquiring property, you may discover certain situations make them necessary for guidance and financial purposes. What might make one essential for you?
1. You Don't Know Much about the Parcel or Property
Whether you're getting a parcel with a house and other structures on it or you're getting an empty lot, getting property information before buying is critical. Easements, underground tanks, land size, and other parcel details affect how the property is priced and could affect how you use it. You may hope to get a single parcel, only to find that the soil on most of it is not buildable. You might want to create something in one corner of the property, only to learn that a utility company holds an easement and you can't do anything with that piece at all. ALTA surveys explore these issues and reveal information before a purchase occurs.
If you're selling the property on behalf of a family member or if you acquired it from an inheritance and want to sell it off, ALTA surveys are still important. Buyers need accurate, honest details about the property so they can make decisions about a purchase. Moreover, protecting yourself with a survey is key; if the buyer discovers something about the property after the sale is complete, that could be troublesome. They could file a claim against you, depending on what's uncovered. Providing all the information you can with an ALTA survey may prevent that.
2. You're Purchasing Multiple Acres
In theory, before you buy a multi-acre lot, you should take the opportunity to walk through the parcel to see what exactly you're buying. This is usually not possible, particularly if there's a pond or dense woodland in part of it. An ALTA survey is often the best way to really understand the lay of the land. With this survey, you can confirm the zoning for each part of the parcel, which is important if you're already planning to use the land for different purposes. The survey will accurately describe any structures and topographical elements that will help you make decisions about how to proceed after the purchase too.
Finding a surveyor who understands and completes ALTA surveys is vital for projects like those mentioned here. Discuss your concerns or needs with them so that they pay special attention to the elements of the survey that are most important for your transaction.