Surveys: Should We Get a New One?

In order to issue important title policy coverage to a buyer (or required coverage to the buyer’s lender) a title company either has to require a new survey for a transaction or we are permitted to use an existing survey coupled with a sworn Texas Residential Property Affidavit (T-47).  This second option of using the existing survey and T-47 affidavit is a cost saving mechanism for the transaction and as such has become the more common election that parties make when negotiating their contract.  Using the existing survey and T-47 affidavit generally saves seller or buyer between $500 – $700 in a residential transaction and much more in an acreage transaction, but is cost savings the only consideration when making this choice? It should not be!

In this article we explore other items that should factor into the decision process.  

Buyer Considerations
When an existing survey is used in a transaction that survey is not actually certified to the buyer by the surveyor.  This generally means that if there are any errors in that survey the buyer does not have the necessary relationship with the surveyor to have recourse against them.  If the buyer chooses not to purchase area and boundary coverage (discussed here: Area and Boundary Coverage a/k/a Survey Deletion | Texas National Title) or T19.1 coverage (discussed here: T19.1 Endorsement | Texas National Title) then that buyer ends up having no protection as to matters that are often disclosed on a survey.  The net result is that if the buyer has an issue with something on the boundary line of the property or an interior lot encroachment it’s up to the buyer to resolve on their own.  

Seller Considerations
Why would a seller want to have a new survey for their sale?
It may seem counterintuitive to say that having a new survey, even if it is a seller cost, is a real benefit to the seller in a transaction.  

Getting a new survey provides a detailed report on the physical boundaries of the property, including the location of any structures, fences, easements, or encroachments.

By obtaining a survey, sellers can provide this essential due diligence report to the buyers about the property’s condition and boundaries without creating legal liability for themselves by making the representations that are present in the Residential Real Property Affidavit (T-47). 

Providing a new survey to the buyer helps to make the buyer responsible for the knowledge presented in the new survey and if there is a defect in that survey the buyer’s recourse is against the surveyor and not the seller.  

Our closing teams at Texas National Title are very knowledgeable about surveys. Anytime you have a survey related questions please call me! We are the experts that you need and the partners that you can trust to get your deals closed!

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