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Professional property surveyors are an essential part of your team when purchasing commercial real estate. A survey is more than property lines and acreage calculations. A licensed property surveyor will also document the specifics of the property that can affect the transfer of clear title and even impact future improvements. All of this can have a bearing on the value of real property. If your plans include additional improvements to commercial land, a surveyor will provide the exact placement of the improvements so that you can avoid any legal or municipal restrictions.
A certified ALTA (American Land Title Association) survey is often required by lenders and title insurance companies. This type of survey goes into much more detail than a boundary survey and is actually part of the title examination process. Since most commercial real estate contracts set a limited diligence period, it’s important to find the right surveyor so that you can get started immediately once the contract is signed. The national directory provided by PropertyCashin will help you find the best property surveying companies, licensed in your state so that you will be ready to go. PropertyCashin gives you the tools you need to successfully close on the right property.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who are property surveyors and what do they do?
Property surveyors are trained, experienced, licensed technicians who are used to prepare a definitive description of a particular property – a property survey. Surveyors are licensed by the states. To issue a license most states require a bachelor’s degree, preferably science-related, and years of experience working for a licensed surveyor.
Surveyors are able to measure a property site and calculate its size and show the property’s dimensions by plotting each property line. This includes showing the exact location of any improvements such as buildings or a fence.
They also assist in confirming the land title status by researching records and previously recorded surveys to see if others have rights regarding the property. For example, the utility company will have an easement to access its lines for maintenance.
When land is being developed, property surveyors measure and draw the land elevation and shape in a topographic survey. This shows the developer how to do the site work needed such as balancing the level of the property and where to locate any water runoff detention ponds.
When should a property be surveyed?
A property survey is a valuable tool for both owners and prospective owners of commercial properties. In the case of a property purchase, a survey may be required by the lender or title insurance company to help determine whether a clear title can be conveyed with the property. Property surveys are needed for the buyer to know exactly what they are buying. The purchase contract may say that the property size is to be determined by a survey, which can impact the sale price.
If you want to develop the land, a survey can indicate building restrictions such as flood zones or easements. For example, you may be able to pave over an easement but not build on it. A survey is a critical element in deciding if you can use the subject property for your intended purpose and whether or not to complete the purchase.
An existing property owner will need a survey primarily to see the property boundary and setbacks. Current property owners need to know if the other properties around them have encroached on their property with improvements such as a building, fence, or driveway. It will also tell them where they can construct improvements such as these.
How much do property surveyors charge on average?
The cost of a commercial property survey depends on several factors including the type of survey, the size and condition of the property, and the number of structures involved. If the investment property is a rental house, you can expect to pay between $300 and $650 with a national average of $510. If the property is a larger commercial property, then the prices can vary more widely.
Considering a typical commercial investment property of between one and five acres, for a simple lot survey or property line survey the cost can be from $1,500 to $2,500. ALTA surveys can increase the cost by as much as $1,000. A topographic survey would cost between $2,600 and $3,000. Because these are usually done along with a boundary survey, the combined cost for both should be around $3,000 to $3,500.
Although most surveyors use hourly rates in calculating their prices, the result is often a flat fee. The surveyor will provide the client with a proposal that states their scope of services and what they will charge. If possible, you should get quotes from several surveyors. Sometimes additional fees can occur. For example, if the corner pins from previous surveys cannot be found and have to be re-set, or if the position of a new building needs to be verified after construction.
Is a property survey required for a mortgage?
Surveys are usually required for mortgage purposes, but not always. When the property being purchased is simple, such as a small commercial lot with one building, it may not be needed. However, if the mortgage lender doesn’t require a survey, it is because they are relying on the title insurance. If the title insurance company requires a survey, then it will still have to be done. A buyer of investment properties should always include the cost of a survey in their budget for every purchase.
How do I get a property survey?
When you need a survey of your property or a property you are buying, you should contact several surveyors who are experienced in providing local property survey services. The list of surveyors provided by PropertyCashin is a great resource.
You will need to provide each surveyor with any diligence materials you have gathered that will help them assess the job and give you an accurate cost. This may include tax parcel numbers, copies of existing surveys, and title insurance policies. Make sure that you tell them the purpose of the survey and your intended use of the property.
Ask each surveyor how long it will take to send you their proposal and how long they will need to perform the survey. You need to receive the survey well before the end of your inspection period so that you can review it carefully. Make sure that the proposals give you a clear description of the work to be done and that your survey will be registered in the county records.
Now you are ready to make your selection and begin ordering a property survey. When arranging a survey on a property, be careful to check your contract for steps you may need to take to access the property. You may need to give the owners or tenants advance notice. If the property contains a business, you may need to instruct the surveyor to wait until after business hours to go on the property.
Are you a reputable commercial surveyor?
If you’re an established, reputable and licensed commercial surveyor that provides building surveying services to commercial property owners, apply to get listed on our directory.