What is an ALTA survey?
The correct name is ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey. An “ALTA Survey” is a survey done in accordance with the standards jointly established by the American Land Title Association and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. By requesting an “ALTA Survey”, a lender, buyer or other interested parties can be assured of acquiring surveys from across the country that consistently meet the same standards. Typically, an ALTA Survey is required on commercial parcels. Most residential parcels are not required to have this type of survey; however, in some cases a Title Company will require this type of survey to be done. Visit www.alta.org for more information.
What is an easement, and how is it used?
An easement allows one party to use another party’s land for a particular purpose. For example, a person might have an easement that allows him to use a driveway across his neighbor’s property. In many areas, utility easements are in place to allow government agencies or utility companies to place poles, wires, pipes or cables across privately-owned land. An easement can be created for nearly any purpose if the parties agree to do so.
Some easements are created in the process of platting land. Others are created by separate legal documents. If there is an easement on your property, there are likely to be some restrictions on how you can use the land in the easement area. A surveyor can locate an existing easement in connection with a survey. An attorney can provide more information on how the easement area may be used.
On many residential lots, there are drainage and utility easements along the sides of the lots. Most cities do not allow buildings to extend into these easements, and there may be other regulations as well. Information on these regulations can usually be obtained from local Building Inspectors.
If a new easement needs to be created, it is generally necessary to have a surveyor locate the correct area and prepare a legal description of it. An attorney can then prepare a document which the parties can sign to create the easement.
My property has just been surveyed. The neighbors’ fence is partly on my property. What should I do?
When an improvement owned by one person is located on land owned by another person, the situation is known as an encroachment. The laws and court decisions on this subject are complex. To understand your legal rights in such a situation, it is best to consult an attorney, preferably one with experience in real-estate matters.
If you are otherwise on good terms with your neighbor, and if the fence is not in your way, it is probably unwise to start a quarrel over the matter. In most cases, the actual value of the land involved is very small. You can ask your attorney about the possibility of creating an easement or license, which can protect your title to the land involved while allowing the fence to remain in place, either temporarily or permanently. With your attorney’s advice, you will also need to decide whether it is necessary and appropriate to do this.
What will a land survey cost?
The cost of a land survey is dependent on several different factors:
- size of the property
- type of survey being done
- purpose of the survey
- number and size of improvements on the property
- terrain of the property
Ultimately, it comes down to how labor intensive and challenging the property being surveyed is and how much time it takes the surveyor to complete. If you have a question regarding a particular piece of property, Compass will be able to give you a fair and honest estimate to complete your project.