When Do I Need an ALTA Survey?

Heather Diemer - Friday, July 27, 2018

Everything in life is situational, including the need for an ALTA survey.  

Typically ALTA surveys are performed with most real estate transactions that involve commercial, industrial, and large residential development. The reason they are performed for these types of real estate transactions is because these transactions are complex and involve a number of different parties. 

Whether one is involved in expansion, acquisitions, or refinancing; ALTA surveyors are highly preferred and often required by:
•        Lenders
•        Title insurers
•        Attorneys
•        Buyers

At its core, an ALTA survey is a land title survey that follows the standards that were set forth by the combined efforts of the American Land Title Association and the National Society of Professional Surveyors.  The standards that were developed provide a consistent expectation on what should be mapped on an ALTA survey across the country.

ALTA surveys map the following findings within a property:
•        Property Boundaries
•        Easements
•        Encroachments
•        Improvements
•        Local zoning information
•        Flood zone designation

For developers every real estate transaction has pitfalls - survey issues are one of them. Don't let your closing get held up because your ALTA survey isn't complete or acceptable. Be sure to get it scheduled with a surveyor at least 4-6 weeks out to ensure you have what you need to close on your property.

ALTA surveys are typically not performed for the average residential real estate transaction because they are not as complex. Just a simple boundary survey is recommended when buying a residential property. 

Still have questions?

Contact: Jim Aiken, PLS, PE at jaiken@navenewell.net or 610.265.8323.

Survey Department Manager at Nave Newell


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We specialize in providing civil engineering, land surveying, land planning, and landscape architecture services to the communities within Chester County, PA; Delaware County, PA; Montgomery County, PA; Bucks County, PA; and the City of Philadelphia. Our portfolio also includes work throughout DE, MD, NJ, and VA.