The Importance of Surveys

A survey is essential for every real estate transaction because it shows what is being bought and sold, including all improvements, encroachments, easements, utilities, means of access and much more. With everything depicted on a survey, no closing should occur without one. Along with visually depicting the property, a survey also provides the legal description for property and should be no different than the legal description in your closing documents.

There are many things you should look for on surveys: does the legal description match the conveyance deed and the title commitment? Are all easements, encroachments, road right-of-ways, etc. depicted on the survey? Does the property abut a body of water? Does the property abut a private road? Are there any violations of covenants and restrictions?

Especially for any commercial or loan transaction, an ALTA/NSPS survey will typically be conducted because it provides greater depth of review of the issues that may become pertinent in the commercial transaction. For example, it is not unusual for the closing of a commercial transaction to be held up while easements running across the property are adjusted to be adjacent to property lines. Getting the right kind of survey and thoroughly reviewing your survey can help you be prepared for anything that could affect your closing.

By: Alicia Kellogg

Alicia Kellogg is Access Title Agency’s new on-staff attorney for the Traverse City and Suttons Bay, Michigan offices. She graduated cum laude from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan. Contact info: or (231) 539-1203.

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