ALTA/ACSM Survey- The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) has prepared a set of standards to use when preparing surveys. Those were designed to give the title insurer, the buyer, and/or the lender a drawing ("survey") showing where buildings, improvements, easements and boundaries were on a property. The latest adoption of these standards was in 2005 and can be viewed on our site or can be downloaded for future reference. These surveys typically involve properties other than personal residential type sites and provide "eyes" for all the parties involved with the transaction. The survey is prepared in conjunction with a current title report and supportive documents for the items delineated within.

Design Survey- Unlike the ALTA/ACSM Survey, the design survey involves a bit more detail. This type of survey provides a three dimensional perspective of the property by adding elevations and contours to the survey plat, in addition to existing improvements. In most cases, the boundary is not shown on these surveys, or a "record" boundary will be shown for reference only. Additionally easements of record are typically not shown on the plat. This type of survey is primarily for design purposes for additional construction to a property, or drainage analysis, and is not prepared to ALTA standards. A title report is not necessary to perform this type of survey.

Encumbrance Survey- An encumbrance survey is similar to an ALTA but is still not prepared in a manner to satisfy ALTA standards. An Encumbrance survey generally does not require field work, the reason being, no site improvements are shown on the survey. The survey will show a "record" boundary, easements and other encumbrances as delineated in a provided title report and supportive documents. The title report does not need to be current, but it is strongly recommended that one be ordered. This type of survey is generally used for planning or strategic development of a property to show how burdened it may be by outside entities.

ALTA/Design Survey- This type of survey is exactly what it is named. This is a combination of the two types of surveys all in one. It will show all improvements, boundaries and encumbrances to ALTA standards, in addition to elevations and contours. This type of survey can be costly, so it is encouraged that if a request is made for this type of survey the knowledge that a cost difference can be dramatic.

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