What is a Land Title?
A Land Title is a legal document or deed, showing rights and ownership to a piece of land.
To establish what exactly the property consists of, a Land Title Survey is performed called an ALTA (American Land Title Association) Survey—a comprehensive type of boundary survey that addresses the interested of lenders and title companies.
Such a survey would show all easements revealed by a current title search. Without such a survey, the buyer will have no recourse at some later date if he or she finds himself or herself embroiled in a boundary dispute with their neighbors or a utility company. The ALTA Land Survey defines the position
of the easements and building limits and exact dimensions of the lot or lots.
Lenders may not insist on a survey, but it in the best interest of a potential buyer to inquire about getting a survey done so as to protect themselves against future problems that may arise regarding exactly what is and is not their property. Lenders may insure themselves against any future problems by inserting exceptions into a Buyer’s Title Insurance Policy (described below). Such exceptions usually include taxes or assessments, survey matters, mechanic’s liens (not revealed in the public record) and any survey matters.
The Title Search
As part of the land transaction, a title company will perform a title search, scouring all public records for any defect against the title. Such defects appear in the property’s history (chain of record) and can be as simple as an incomplete signature or a misspelled name to unpaid taxes, unsatisfied liens or fraudulent documents.
When these defects have been cleared, a clear Land Title can be had and a title insurance company can issue a Buyer’s Title Insurance Policy on the property. A one-time fee is involved, but this policy insulates the buyer from any future trouble that may crop up with the title from some problem undiscovered in the initial title search.
Such protection is afforded the buyer for as long as they own the property.
If you are considering a multi-site transacation, a single source contact for all survey issues may be of use to you. A Survey Coordinator can help the survey process go smoothly. For specifics on how to find an experienced Survey Coordinator, click this link: Florida ALTA/ACSM Land Survey Coordination.