ALTA Surveys: The Must-Know Guide

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What Is an ALTA Survey?

An American Land Title Association (ALTA) survey verifies a legal description and possible easements of subject property. An ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is performed by a professional land surveyor typically when residential or commercial properties are purchased.

How Much Does a Land Survey Cost?

A land survey costs depends on several factors:

  • Location of the property
  • Size of the land
  • Terrain type
  • Time of year
  • Research and documents necessary

Why do I need an ALTA Survey?

Homeowners and commercial/industrial business owners often need ALTAs for various reasons:

  • Commercial Real Estate transactions
  • Meeting mortgage requirements
  • Settling boundary line disputes
  • Building a house or other structure
  • Acquiring title insurance
  • Vacant land purchases
  • Reassessing property value after renovations
  • Due Diligence when property is being transferred or refinanced
  • Locate recorded and non-recorded matters

Importance of an ALTA Survey

An ALTA survey is a detailed land parcel map, showing all existing assets of a property. This includes boundaries, utilities, easements, and other significant observations. These are very important when it comes to selling or buying property and vacant lots. This also helps understand what you currently own to be able to add a fence or structure, as they detail the property rights and value.

Land Title Standards

Owner’s Title Insurance

Title insurance gives owner’s legal ownership of their property, including the right to use the land and any structures located on it. Owner’s Title Insurance provides protection to the Homeowner’s property if someone sues them after the purchase.

Owner’s Title Insurance does not cover problems or issues that arise after the purchase closing, only before.

Michigan Land Title Standards

In a paragraph, give an overview of Michigan land title standards. Link to a source if possible.

Michigan Land Title Insurance can be purchased through a licensed agency authorized to perform work in Michigan. F&V recommends visiting to learn more.

Indiana Land Title Standards

Indiana Land Title Insurance can be purchased through a licensed agency authorized to perform work in Indiana. F&V recommends visiting Indiana Land Title Association to learn more.

F&V’s ALTA Experience

We’ve worked on 230+ ALTA surveys in the past 20 years.

Serra Works

Serra Works of Rochester Hills needed a survey on two existing commercial sites it was purchasing. The sites were in the cities of Rochester and Rochester Hills, Michigan.

F&V provided an ALTA/NSPS Land Title survey on a 9.24-acre Auto Dealership in Rochester Hills that had five separate legal descriptions with overlaps and gaps. Survey staff worked directly with attorneys, title company and city officials to resolve the title issues and prepare an updated  description for all the land area prior to completing the survey.

F&V also provided an ALTA/NSPS Land Title survey on a 1-acre site that contained the dealership’s auto body repair shop. The site was part of an urban renewal plat, which required additional documentation provided to the lender to satisfy their concerns on the boundary.

F&V’s professional services included field measurements, office calculations and staking the project boundary.

The ALTA/NSPS Land Title survey allows Serra to close the loan and purchase the properties.

Waterfall Shoppes

F&V assisted with the master planning, design engineering and construction observation of this 115-acre regional shopping center in Cascade Township.

Work was coordinated and permitted through the Kent County Drain Commission, Kent County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, City of Grand Rapids and Cascade Township.

Topographic mapping and engineering focused on wetland investigation, 25 acres of mitigated wetland, relocation of a county drain, public utility extensions, pavement design and paving, grading, and drainage and stormwater management for the entire development. The overall plans included planning for individual building sites and proposed parking.

F&V also assisted the developer and tenants with site plan development and further approvals for the individual sites within the development. The project contained approximately 400,000 square feet of retail space. Individual site planning included the required grading, utility connections, storm management plans, and specifications for each site.

Gemini Capital Management

A developer recognized the need for housing in Mid-Michigan and asked F&V to assist in developing a 3-acre site for a multi-family residential development. F&V assisted in providing an ALTA survey of the site for lending purposes that included an ALTA survey for establishing the property boundary and marking the property corners, checking for encroachments, improvements, public street access, and utilities. F&V also provided the topographic information and utility details necessary for completing the site design.

Unique to this site, it was on the fringe of a FEMA special flood hazard area. This area was in the flood hazard area that had to be identified.

By combining the tasks of the ALTA and design surveys, F&V was able to provide the client with significant savings of both costs and project time overall.

Land Survey Services

Let us help you with your ALTA survey or other surveying needs.