The ALTA (American Land Title Association) and ACSM (American Congress on Surveying and Mapping) have worked in conjunction to develop a set of minimum standards to meet the stringent requirements of lenders and title companies for the acquisition of properties as well as promote uniformity in the field. These standards are what make up an ALTA/ACSM survey.
They are the most comprehensive of surveys, which also makes them some of the most expensive as they require much more research and fieldwork. They cover all aspects of a boundary survey as well as identification of any additional evidence of possession/improvement, such as on-site additions, easements, rights-of-way, and other elements that may impact the ownership and use of a property.
IMPORTANCE OF AN ALTA/ACSM SURVEY:
Buying/Selling: ALTA/ACSM surveys reduce the risk for commercial real estate buyers. By providing reliable descriptions of a property, including its boundaries, improvements, easements, rights-of-way, and other elements that might impact value, purchasers get a clear picture and a visual guide of what they are buying and minimize the risk of disputes or problems popping up in the future. You don't want to overpay or buy a piece of property for a particular use only to find out it won't work.
Landownership: ALTA/ACSM surveys memorialize parcel features that may impact land ownership, including encroachments and unrecorded interests or uses. They also provide detailed information to title companies, guarantee that landowners’ title policies are comprehensive, and ensure that all exception matters are identified, reviewed, and addressed. This small step in due diligence can preserve landowners’ resources and protect the integrity of their real estate assets for future re-sale.
Planning/Design: The information that is displayed on an ALTA/ACSM survey can also be useful for future property re-design and development as it provides architects with as much information as possible, resulting in fewer surprises and setbacks down the line.
WHAT IS NEEDED FROM YOU?
An important part of an ALTA/ACSM survey is possessing a current title commitment, which is required before an ALTA/ACSM survey can be completed. We refer to the title commitment for the current legal description of the property and the legal description of any encumbrances (exceptions).