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Blog
Jan 21

Real Estate Insights: When Is a Survey Required?

Every couple of weeks, we’ll highlight a deal to show you what title insurance costs, as well as what happens behind the scenes to streamline the closing process. Even with today’s historically low interest rates, some purchases are all cash. The assumption is that all-cash deals will reduce or eliminate some mortgage-related fees, but this transaction had a sticking point: the survey.

Here’s how we solved the issue and saved the buyer some money.

The Deal

Here’s a simple breakdown of a Manhasset home that was purchased for $600,000 in an all-cash transaction:

Nassau County (Manhasset – Town of North Hempstead)

Title Insurance: $2,354
Title Fees: $600+
NYS Transfer Taxes: $2,400 (Seller)
County Recording Fees: $855+
Title Grade B-

Cornerstone Insight

First, it’s important to understand what a survey is: a plot of the property and the area that someone is selling, buying, or refinancing. It’s an exact depiction of what one owns, as specified on a deed. It also includes any structures and improvements done to the property.

An initial survey is a new survey done from scratch, and is generally required if the survey is more than 6-12 months old. A recertification survey is an updated document that highlights any property and ownership changes. Because a survey protects the buyer, it’s important to make sure the survey included in the settlement is current and accurate.

Recertification surveys are faster and less expensive. In this instance, the buyer’s counsel was initially reluctant to accept this less expensive alternative, until we were able to prove that the property had not changed since the last survey was completed through a survey inspection (sending an examiner out to a prospective site with an old survey in hand to do a visual check). This saved time, money, and led to a quicker close.

If you have any questions about surveys or title insurance, or if you would like to discuss an upcoming or potential transaction, please contact us.