Understanding ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey

March 28, 2024

An ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is crucial for anyone looking to understand the specifics of their property investment fully. Let’s dive deeper into what makes these surveys instrumental for property safety and peace of mind.

What is an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey?

At its core, an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is not just about mapping the corners of a piece of land; it’s a meticulous examination that uncovers the intricate details of property ownership and use.

  • Detailed Field Survey: The process starts with a detailed field survey, where surveyors physically measure and document the property. This step is about getting an accurate picture of the property’s current state.
  • Locating Improvements: Any additions or changes made to the land, such as buildings, paths, fences, and landscaping, are carefully documented. Knowing the exact location of these improvements can help identify if they encroach on neighboring properties.
  • Easements and Rights-of-Way: These are rights that others might have on the property, like a utility company’s right to use a portion of the land for utility lines. Identifying them ensures that the property use is not illegally infringing on someone else’s rights.
  • Adherence to UCLS: The Uniform Standards of Professional Surveying Practices set a high bar for the quality and thoroughness of the survey. Following these standards ensures that the survey is trusted and reliable.

Identifying Potential Issues

One of the key benefits of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is its ability to reveal any discrepancies that could affect the property’s legal status or use.

  • Overlapping Property Lines: Sometimes, what’s on paper doesn’t match the reality on the ground. This survey will highlight if the property’s boundaries differ from neighboring lands.
  • Encroachments: Discoveries might include a shed, fence, or part of a building that’s actually on the surveyed property but belongs to a neighbor. Resolving these issues early prevents disputes.
  • Access Issues: The survey can uncover if the property is landlocked or if access is dependent on an easement through another property.
  • Previously Unrecorded Easements: There may be rights to the property not previously documented, which could impact future development or use.
ALTANSPS Land Title Survey.

Benefits of ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey

Investing in an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey presents numerous advantages for property owners, offering a clearer understanding of their property and its legal boundaries. Here is a closer look at why this comprehensive survey is beneficial.

Establishing Precise Legal and Record Title Lines

An ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey’s primary function is to clearly outline a property’s legal boundaries.

  • Reducing Uncertainties: This survey reduces uncertainties about the property’s size, shape, and location by meticulously measuring it and comparing the real-world facts with the details mentioned in the property title.
  • Preventing Future Legal Disputes: Confusions about property boundaries can lead to disputes with neighbors or legal troubles. Defining precise boundaries can help prevent such issues, providing a definitive reference point for future disagreements.

Assurance for Clients and Title Companies

Another major benefit of this survey is the assurance it provides for both the property owner and title companies.

  • Identifying Property Limitations: Any restrictions or expectations for the property’s use, such as zoning laws or local covenants, are duly noted. This helps property owners to be aware of what they can and cannot do with their property.
  • Facilitating Title Insurance: Title companies rely on this detailed survey for underwriting title insurance. The survey’s ability to uncover anything from encroachments to unrecorded conveyances and easements allows title companies to fully understand any possible pitfalls associated with underwriting a policy.

An ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey goes beyond being just a simple survey. It performs the dual role of providing a precise outline of the property and apprehending any potential legal issues.

By investing in this survey, property owners not only get peace of mind about the exact status of their property but also ensure a smoother process when seeking title insurance. The benefits are clear and immediate, and they extend well into the future.

Case Study: Harrisville

The situation in Harrisville serves as a practical demonstration of the difference an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey can make in identifying and resolving property disputes.

The Boundary Dispute in Harrisville

Harrisville’s case began with a new homeowner discovering a significant problem.

  • Discovery of the Problem: After moving into their new home, a homeowner in Harrisville found out that their garage overlapped with their neighbor’s property. This type of issue is not just a simple mistake; it can lead to tension between neighbors and complicated legal situations.
  • The Cause: The root of the problem was traced back to reliance on an outdated and less detailed survey when the title insurance was initially issued. This older survey failed to catch the exact boundaries and improvements accurately.

Highland Surveying Steps In

Highland Surveying, known for its expertise and thoroughness, was tasked with resolving the issue.

  • Conducting an ALTA/NSPS Survey: To tackle the dispute head-on, Highland Surveying conducted a comprehensive ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey. This detailed survey was crucial in unraveling the intricacies of this specific case.
  • Using the Grantor-Grantee Index: Part of their investigative process involved poring over past transactions related to the land, facilitated by the grantor-grantee index. This deep dive helped them understand the properties’ history and intended ownership boundaries.
  • Resolution and Correction: Highland Surveying’s meticulous work clarified the true boundaries and identified the mistake. Their findings were integral to correcting the boundary error.
Civil engineer land survey with theodolite.

The Outcome

The resolution brought by Highland Surveying’s intervention had significant benefits.

  • Correction of the Error: With the accurate boundaries established, the issue of the encroaching garage was resolved. This not only smoothed over neighbor relations but also prevented potential legal battles in the future.
  • Updated Insurance Coverage: Equally important, the title insurance was appropriately updated to reflect the true situation. This ensured that all parties were protected moving forward, with insurance coverage accurately matching the reality on the ground.

The Harrisville case underscores the critical importance of conducting an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey before finalizing any property transaction. It highlights the potential issues that can arise from relying on outdated surveys and demonstrates how an accurate, detailed land title survey can provide clarity and resolution.

This case is a valuable lesson for homeowners, real estate professionals, and insurers on the value of precision and thoroughness in property documentation and dispute resolution.

The Expertise of Highland Surveying

Highland Surveying sets the gold standard for excellence and precision in the practice of land surveying, earning them a distinguished reputation in the field.

Commitment to Accuracy and Standards

Highland Surveying’s guiding principle is its unwavering pledge to accuracy.

  • Alignment with ALTA/NSPS Standards: They ensure every survey they conduct is fully compliant with the stringent requirements set forth by ALTA/NSPS, guaranteeing a level of quality and thoroughness that is unsurpassed.
  • Stewards of the Profession: Their work transcends mere measurement; they view themselves as stewards of land surveying, committed to upholding the integrity and trustworthiness of the surveying process.

Tradition of Technological Advancement

Embracing innovation is at the heart of Highland Surveying’s success.

  • Investing in Technology: They continually invest in the latest surveying technologies, from state-of-the-art GPS devices to advanced mapping software. This commitment enhances the precision of their surveys and their efficiency.
  • Adapting to New Techniques: As surveying techniques evolve, Highland Surveying stays ahead of the curve, ensuring that its team is always equipped with the knowledge and tools to deliver best-in-class service.

Consistent Delivery of Quality Results

The true measure of Highland Surveying’s expertise is seen in the outcomes of their work.

  • Satisfied Clients: Time and again, clients turn to Highland Surveying for their reliability in producing accurate, detailed surveys that stand up to scrutiny and facilitate smooth property transactions.
  • Reputation for Excellence: Through their consistent delivery of quality results, they’ve built a solid reputation that speaks to their dedication and skill in the field of land surveying.

Highland Surveying shows that with the right blend of dedication, adherence to standards, technological advancement, and a focus on quality, a land surveying company can significantly impact real estate, construction, and property management. Their work not only supports their clients’ needs but also advances the practice of land surveying.

Theodolite excavator survey road construction site.


Considering the significance of protecting property investments, the indispensable nature of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is clear. It affords a level of detail and peace of mind unmatched in real estate transactions and property management.

Highland Surveying is a reliable partner for property owners, assuring their real estate investments are well safeguarded with comprehensive surveying services. For anyone vested in real land management expertise, an investment in ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys is essential.

It’s not just an added value—it’s a tool for peace of mind. Property owners should consider Highland Surveying as their go-to provider for top-tier ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys and comprehensive protection of their property investments.