Incorrect Survey done 15 years ago

11 Replies

I am in the process of selling land in Texas and have been informed that the survey done 15 years ago does not align with a recent survey done with a neighboring property.  Seems like title insurance should cover this.  We are having discussions about a "boundary agreement" but I would be very interested in anyones advice regarding this issue.

Thanks in advance!

I'm not sure what you mean by they don't align, is there an overlap or a hiatus?  Keep in mind, like many things, survey accuracy has improved in the last fifteen years.  Keep in mind also, differences between surveyor's opinions as to boundary line locations are not unusual.  If you believe the matter might be covered by your title insurance, submit a claim to the insurer and allow them time to make a coverage decision and take actions before entering into any agreements that might affect the insurer's ability to defend your title.  Failure to do so may result in a loss of coverage.

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Also talk to a lawyer about how long a respected boundary becomes a true boundary. Out in the farm country a rock pile setup over years on what is believed to be the boundary is treated by the courts as the boundary regardless of the legal description. 

Originally posted by @Bill Brandt :

Also talk to a lawyer about how long a respected boundary becomes a true boundary. Out in the farm country a rock pile setup over years on what is believed to be the boundary is treated by the courts as the boundary regardless of the legal description.

Much like in Timber country were Blaze lines could be construed as property lines..  However as noted above you can hire 5 different surveyors to do the same job and you will have 5 monuments within inches of each other it is very common that survey's don't align

If this is a resi lot where a fence a a few inchs one way or the other does not matter not worth all the expense to fight over a tiny amount of land just come to an agreement with the neighbor and move on..   Out our way U have to buy an ALTA policy with Survey to be covered a CLTA policy will not cover you...

Keep in mind basic title insurance typically doesnt cover lot line issues. You would to have opted for an enhanced policy to cover this. 

Hire your own surveyor to confirm what the new "neighboring land" survey shows. If you paid the endorsement for boundary coverage when you purchased, it was based on the survey provided to the title company at that time. You'll want to review your policy to see what endorsements and exceptions are included. There is too much missing info to determine what your options are because they will depending greatly on the original survey and current title policy. It'll be wise to visit with a real estate attorney before you move forward with any other agreements with the neighboring property owner. 

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Bill Brandt:

Also talk to a lawyer about how long a respected boundary becomes a true boundary. Out in the farm country a rock pile setup over years on what is believed to be the boundary is treated by the courts as the boundary regardless of the legal description.

Much like in Timber country were Blaze lines could be construed as property lines..  However as noted above you can hire 5 different surveyors to do the same job and you will have 5 monuments within inches of each other it is very common that survey's don't align

If this is a resi lot where a fence a a few inchs one way or the other does not matter not worth all the expense to fight over a tiny amount of land just come to an agreement with the neighbor and move on..   Out our way U have to buy an ALTA policy with Survey to be covered a CLTA policy will not cover you...

Jay, I believe that if two recorded deeds contain legal descriptions that when plotted out show an overlap, the matter may be covered by a standard policy without survey coverage because the matter can be identified from the record without the need for a survey.  

Unfortunately, in my experience, being able to run out a description is becoming a lost art amongst title examiners because of the time it takes to do so and the premium insures put on getting the work out the door rather than doing the job right.  One of the reasons I left the industry.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

Keep in mind basic title insurance typically doesnt cover lot line issues. You would to have opted for an enhanced policy to cover this. 

Please see my response to Jay's post.

Originally posted by @Guy Gimenez :

Hire your own surveyor to confirm what the new "neighboring land" survey shows. If you paid the endorsement for boundary coverage when you purchased, it was based on the survey provided to the title company at that time. You'll want to review your policy to see what endorsements and exceptions are included. There is too much missing info to determine what your options are because they will depending greatly on the original survey and current title policy. It'll be wise to visit with a real estate attorney before you move forward with any other agreements with the neighboring property owner. 

Before spending money on an attorney, I think it would be wise to submit a claim to the title insurer unless the matter is clearly and indisputably excluded or excepted from coverage.

@Peter Walther

It would be foolish to not consult with an attorney prior to signing any agreement with the neighbor (see my actual comment below). Plus, I know from experience, that only the most seasoned of investors understand title commitments/policies, and their exceptions and exclusions. I never recommend someone step over a dollar to save a dime.  

"It'll be wise to visit with a real estate attorney before you move forward with any other agreements with the neighboring property owner."

Originally posted by @Guy Gimenez :

@Peter Walther

It would be foolish to not consult with an attorney prior to signing any agreement with the neighbor (see my actual comment below). Plus, I know from experience, that only the most seasoned of investors understand title commitments/policies, and their exceptions and exclusions. I never recommend someone step over a dollar to save a dime.  

"It'll be wise to visit with a real estate attorney before you move forward with any other agreements with the neighboring property owner."

As long as you understand the attorney's fees you'll incur are not recoverable under the title policy so if the advice you receive is to file a claim you'll paying for the same advice I gave for free.  You will however have the satisfaction of knowing the advice came from a member of the Bar.