Exploring the Relationship Between Title and Survey in Commercial Real Estate 

Calloway Title and Escrow is highly active in the real estate industry. Our team members hold leadership positions in many groups and organizations, including the Real Property Law Section of the Georgia State Bar. Our firm’s managing partner, Amanda Calloway, is the Real Property Law Section’s acting Chair. In her role, she uses her experience in commercial real estate and title law to educate practicing attorneys and help create opportunities for new section members.

She helps coordinate and host events, including the Real Property Law Institute’s Annual Conference in Amelia Island, FL, which fell on May 18-20 this year. Members of the Calloway Title team attended the three-day conference, which covered topics ranging from business entities and title to property to industry updates, professionalism and more. It also provided ample time for attendees to make connections with one another during activities such as the Railroad Memorial Golf Tournament, sunrise beach yoga sessions and a Feat for McKee 5K run/walk. The overarching theme of the conference was: prepping for industry changes and making connections for tomorrow’s opportunities.

Kyle Levstek, a managing partner at Calloway Title, joined David Weissmann, Mike Noles and Leonard Gray Jr. on a panel during a section of the event labeled, An Attorney, An Underwriter and a Surveyor Walk into a Closing: The Pain Points of a Commercial Closing. During the section, Kyle spoke about the relationship between title and survey, pointing out that the two go together like peas and carrots. 

Title vs. Survey: What’s the difference? 

Title (record room work) is only the legal depiction of a property, while the survey is the actual depiction of a property. The title agent knows the property from documents and maps. The surveyor knows the property from spending time there. There is more than one type of survey. However, the ALTA survey’s high standards make it the most frequently used for commercial real estate transactions.

Role of the Surveyor 

The surveyor goes to the site of a property to take measurements, study the area and make interpretations and judgements. Their job is to map out where the physical boundaries lie using a variety of angle-measuring devices, distance-measuring devices and GPS. They account for all landmarks and search for any evidence on the land that may help determine the most effective and accurate location to run a survey line. They also use the title search in their research of the property and sellers.

Once a survey is complete, the surveyor will present their detailed opinion to all affected parties to solidify an agreed-upon property line. At this point, attorneys will engage in the process to ensure the agreed-upon line is in writing and properly recorded.

The Survey’s Effect on a Property’s Title

Real estate purchases – especially commercial ones, are a huge investment, so it’s important to minimize risk wherever you can. During a survey, surveyors act as the eyes of the title company – and of all other parties involved in a real estate transaction. Their research and opinions provide important information needed for the closing and ensure that buyers are getting exactly what they pay for. They also help buyers avoid costly boundary disputes, construction setbacks, easements and other land title problems. 

Surveys, however, need to be up-to-date. As stated by Chastain & Associates, P.C., “Without a current survey done for the buyer, there will be an exclusion in the policy such that the policy will not cover situations that would have been revealed by a current survey. So, encroachments over the property line, adverse possession by adjacent owners, errors in acreage calculations in older surveys, undocumented driveways over the property, etc. will not be covered under the title insurance policy.” Hence the importance of working with a good surveyor.

Working Toward a Common Goal

A good surveyor is worth his weight in gold; a bad one can steal value from a deal—just like a title person. When the surveyor and title agent work hand in hand, collectively trying to add value to the transaction, the client can walk away with a title insurance policy of immense value. 

At Calloway Title and Escrow, we understand and value the relationship between title and survey. We hold ourselves and our surveyors to the highest standard so that our clients and their commercial properties are protected to the full extent. Our attention to detail and commitment to excellence is why the nation’s top developers trust our team with their most complex deals. Visit www.titlelaw.com to work with our team.

© 2019 Calloway Title and Escrow LLC