Survey Approval + Survey Coverage: What do Realtors really need to know?

Confusion often arises regarding title company requirements for survey approval and coverage. The importance of understanding said requirements is crucial, as it is an expensive cost for clients that can often be predicted or avoided. Below are some helpful reminders to help clients be protected and avoid unpleasant surprises.

  • The additional survey coverage through the added endorsement requires a title company approved survey.
  • The additional coverage includes any discrepancies, conflicts with regard to boundary lines, or any encroachments or protrusions, or any overlapping improvements.
  • This coverage never includes shortages in area.
  • If you have a cash contract, you are not required to obtain a survey if both buyer and seller agree contractually.
  • If a loan is involved, most lenders require an endorsement that has survey coverage built-into it, thereby requiring non-cash transactions to have a survey approved by the title company.
  • Title companies prefer surveys to be less than 10 years old, but this is a case by case basis.

 Surveys are NOT approved when:

(Non-exclusive list)

  • Any substantial, permanent improvement or any deficiency is present, i.e. an added pool, anything that encroaches onto an easement, etc.
  • A survey is in such bad condition that it is illegible.
  • The survey is missing key components, which are required to make it valid, such as a legend, date, surveyor signature, seal, or certification.

 Existing Surveys + T-47 Affidavits:

  • The T-47 affidavit must state that no substantial changes have been made since the survey was drawn. This can be done one of two ways:
  • An existing survey requires a T-47 affidavit, which per the contract, must be turned in alongside the survey or the seller automatically pays for a new survey.
    • Each owner of the property can sign a T-47 affidavit for the time he/she owned the property.
      • For example: A survey was drawn in 2005, but the current owner took title in 2009. In this scenario two T-47 affidavits will be necessary:
        • from the 2005-2009 owner; and
        • from the 2009- present owner.
    • Have the current owner swear on the T-47 affidavit that nothing has changed to the property since the survey was drawn, even if the current seller did not own the property for the entire life of the survey.
      • For example: A survey was drawn in 2005, but the current owner took title in 2009. The current owner can look at the survey and verify that nothing has changed since 2005, if he/she will swear on his/her T-47 affidavit this is true.
      • **Please be advised that this must be approved on a case by case basis**