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One Survey to Rule Them All: Why Pick the ALTA Survey?
One Survey to Rule Them All: Why Pick the ALTA Survey?

Acquiring commercial property can be a tricky business. Moreover, properly insuring any acquired land is another story. Often, insurers will set up stipulations, or exceptions, to whether they’re willing to insure a piece of property or not. While this causes a headache for buyers and sellers alike, there is an easy solution to this problem. In what is called the ALTA survey, land surveyors provide a comprehensive method to evaluate a property, ensure all exceptions are properly understood by the buyer and exceptions which may not apply to the property are removed.

The ALTA Survey: What is It?

An ALTA survey, otherwise known as the American Land Title Association survey, is a complete survey you can get for your land that is useful during the due diligence process and for meeting lender and insurer requirements. While common land and boundary surveys may work to meet basic standards, an ALTA survey sets out to be the gold standard for surveys throughout the country. An ALTA survey will cover:

  • Boundaries
  • Land Improvements
  • Zoning Classifications
  • Roads
  • Property Features
  • Legal Access to Property
  • Easements and Encumbrances

What Do ALTA Surveys Help Settle?

When you order land surveyors to conduct an ALTA survey on your land, the primary purpose is to detail every aspect of your property. They determine what matters of record uncovered by the title search affect your land, the accuracy of the provided description of the property and the proper establishment of your land’s boundaries. ALTA surveys are thorough and work to cover every standard that insurers look for. These surveys often will settle issues involving:

  • Risk of Encroachments
  • Boundary Disputes
  • Problems with Zoning
  • Acquisition of Missing Records
  • Verification of Property Existence
  • Survey Exceptions on a Title Commitment
  • Other Potential Losses and Claims

Why Do You Need an ALTA Survey?

Picture this: you’ve found the perfect plot of land to build your new business on. It’s located somewhere between a residential subdivision and commercial part of town. There are neighbors on each side and some additional features on the land, built by the previous owners. At this point is where you decide whether you want to move forward with the purchase or order an ALTA survey.

You decide to forego the ALTA survey and instead settle for a typical land survey. Property lines are determined, and you begin to pursue title insurance for your land. However, after some digging, it turns out there were easements on your land, allowing your neighbors to use the back of the property as an access alleyway. Additionally, you find the area you purchased isn’t correctly zoned for commercial use and sits on a nearby flood zone. Now you’re stuck with a piece of property that insurers won’t cover, and lenders won’t finance. If only you had known about these issues ahead of time!

The Heart of ALTA Surveys

Ultimately, you’ll find most lenders, and insurance companies won’t let you go forward without a proper ALTA survey. Even if they don’t require it, a survey shows you are doing your due diligence, with the end goal of assisting developers. However, it’s just as crucial to make sure you’re getting the best ALTA survey possible. After all, if you end up ordering a survey and they clear your property, only to find problems with the land later, you’re in trouble. For an ALTA survey you can count on, Austin Engineering can help.

Austin Engineering has supplied surveys of all varieties to the Central Illinois area and beyond since 1937. With a team of highly trained civil engineers and land surveyors, we are confident in our ability to present you with as complete and detailed an ALTA survey as possible. And when the time comes for you to begin development on your property, we can be there with various engineering and landscaping services.

For ALTA surveys, and other land surveys in Peoria, Bloomington, Joliet and the Quad Cities, you can trust the professionals at Austin Engineering. Contact us today at 309-228-9548 to get a free quote. Also, we are located at 311 SW Water Street, Suite 215, Peoria, IL 61602.