Property Surveys: Navigating the Fine Print

February 8, 2024

So, you’ve found the perfect property—the one that’s going to send your portfolio skyrocketing, or at least, that’s the dream. But before you get too carried away, let’s talk about the fine print, my fellow investors. The devil, as they say, is in the details.

When it comes to property purchases, your Contract to Buy is your gospel. It’s where you’ll find those contingency rights that give you the power to scrutinize every nook and cranny of that potential goldmine. We’re talking about appraised value, physical inspection, insurability, title, HOA, loan acceptability, and, you guessed it, survey matters.

Now, let’s zoom in on surveys, shall we? Picture this: you’re eyeing a property, and you want to know precisely what you’re getting into. Enter the survey. But hey, don’t just slap it on the table and hope for the best. Make sure those deadlines are inked in your contract because time, my friends, is money in this game.

What a survey in Boulder and Colorado can mean to setting you up for success:

  1. Risk Mitigation for Investment: As a savvy real estate investor, mitigating risk is paramount. Conducting a comprehensive survey or Independent Legal Counsel (ILC) assessment before purchasing a property helps identify potential liabilities or legal issues associated with the property. By uncovering any hidden problems such as structural deficiencies, boundary disputes, or zoning restrictions, investors can make informed decisions to either negotiate a better price, renegotiate terms, or even walk away from a risky investment altogether, thus safeguarding their capital and maximizing returns.
  2. Enhanced Negotiation Power: Knowledge is power in real estate negotiations. Having a detailed survey or ILC report at hand provides investors with valuable leverage during price negotiations. Any issues identified through the survey can be used as bargaining chips to negotiate a lower purchase price or to request repairs or concessions from the seller. This proactive approach not only helps investors secure better deals but also ensures that they enter into transactions fully aware of the property’s condition and legal standing, minimizing post-purchase surprises and potential disputes.
  3. Long-Term Investment Protection: For savvy real estate investors, the focus extends beyond the initial purchase to long-term asset preservation and appreciation. Investing in a thorough survey or ILC assessment helps protect the long-term value of the property by ensuring compliance with local regulations, zoning laws, and building codes. By addressing any existing issues upfront, investors can avoid costly legal battles, fines, or unexpected expenses down the line. Moreover, a clean bill of health from the survey or ILC reassures future buyers or tenants, thereby enhancing the property’s marketability and potential for sustained profitability over time.

Now, here’s the lowdown on the types of surveys you can expect in the vibrant state of Colorado:

$x1 IMPROVEMENT LOCATION CERTIFICATE (ILC): Let’s get one thing straight—it’s not a survey, it is a professional rendition. Think of it as a visual inspection of the property, tying fixed improvements to what the surveyor perceives as the visual edges. It’s your basic package deal, showing major structures, distances, and maybe even some easement areas. Most mortgage companies dig this, and it won’t break the bank—expect around $500 and 7-10 days.

$x2 LAND SURVEY PLAT (PIN): A boundary survey, a property survey, a pin survey—call it what you will, it’s about defining those property boundaries. No frills, no spills, just the lay of the land. Typically for the raw land enthusiasts, starting around $1,000 with a two-week turnaround.

$X3 IMPROVEMENT SURVEY PLAT (LSP+): It’s the Land Survey Plat Plus, folks. All the perks of a Land Survey Plat, with the bonus of showing off your improvements, utilities, and encroachments. A bit pricier at around $1,500, but hey, quality takes time—plan for 2-3 weeks.

$$$$ A.L.T.A. / A.C.S.M. SURVEY: Now we’re talking high-end, commercial-grade stuff. This one’s the cream of the crop, adding the ALTA and ACSM stamp of approval to your Land Survey Plat. It’s your ticket to the big leagues, but it comes at a price—starting around $2,500, with a minimum 3-week wait time.

So there you have it—a survey for every budget and ambition. But remember, in the world of real estate, knowledge is power. So arm yourself with the right tools, read the fine print, and may your investments be ever in your favor. Cheers to savvy investing.

– Understanding Surveys & Real Estate Transactions –
My approach to real estate involves strategy to position you for life’s changes as well as setting you up for future economic security. I do this by being a resource long before, during, and after the opportunity to work with you. That’s why I put an immense amount of effort into understanding and delivering information that will help position you to take on the market and any transaction you find yourself in. Interested in discussing more?  Reach out HERE for a chat!