Understanding Survey Requirements When Buying or Selling a Home

By ROB SWAN, Contributing Writer, Qualifying Broker Swan Realty

Surveys come in many forms, the two most common in regard to property transfers are a Staked Boundary Survey and an Improved Location Report or more commonly known as an ILR.

When you are buying a house, the title company may request that you provide one of the above in order to issue a Title Insurance Policy.

The type of survey the Title Company requires is dependent upon the requirement set by the title examiner. An ILR is the simplest and least expensive type of survey and will show the locations of the improvements on the property including existing buildings, fences, power lines, roads, and driveways. A Staked Boundary Survey is usually double the price or more depending upon complexity and will show all of the above along with the exact location of all corners. An ILR can only be used for Title Insurance purposes while a Staked Boundary Survey can be used to construct buildings, install fences etc..

So which one will the title company require? That depends, if the parcel is within an existing subdivision most likely they will only require an ILR. If the seller has an existing ILR from when they bought the property and no improvements have been made then the title company may accept the previous ILR with a seller’s affidavit stating that no changes have been made during their time of ownership. If the seller has added on to their house, built a fence or moved the driveway then a new ILR will undoubtedly be required.

Staked Boundary Surveys are usually required in more rural areas that are not part of subdivisions and have more complex legal descriptions that include metes and bounds, however, this is not always the case, the title examiner will make the final determination.

Regardless of the type of survey required, the point is to prove to the title company and possibly the lender that the parcel to be sold matches the legal description and the seller is not encroaching upon adjacent parcels or vice versa.

If you have any questions in regard to surveys or any other real estate issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 575-613-4243.

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