Jul 2023
Most Common Title Defects Surveying Errors and Boundary Disputes

Most Common Title Defects: Surveying Errors and Boundary Disputes

By Marc Shaw

When you purchase a property and the land it is situated on, you may think every square inch of it belongs to you to do as you, please. This is not always the case when surveying errors and boundary disputes come into play. If a previous survey of your property lines was performed incorrectly, it can create a host of legal and financial headaches for you that can take years to resolve. If you would like to know how to protect yourself, the team at World Wide Land Transfer has some invaluable information for you.

What is a Surveying Error?

To sell a piece of land, its boundaries must be clearly defined. This is accomplished through surveying. In the past, surveyors used sextants and other specialized tools to determine property boundaries. Today, lasers and other instruments make surveys more accurate than ever before. Of course, everyone makes mistakes, and surveyors are no exception. It could be that a survey performed 100 years ago was inaccurate and is now calling your property lines into question. Even modern surveying equipment is subject to operator error, so the owners of newer homes can also run afoul of a boundary dispute.

In some cases, correcting a previous surveying error can be as simple as redrawing a line on the map; in other cases, it can cost a homeowner countless dollars and legal fees before it is resolved. This occurs when driveways, sheds, or even entire houses are situated on the wrong side of the new property boundary. When that happens, a structure may need to be demolished or relocated. Boundary disputes between neighbors can also become heated, requiring a protracted legal battle before an agreement can be reached.

Protecting Yourself from Surveying Errors and Boundary Disputes

Once a boundary line has been called into dispute, it can take years for the competing property owners to agree. That’s why the best thing to do is ensure you will be protected before a boundary dispute arises. With the right endorsement on your owner’s title policy protecting you, you can shield yourself from incurring the legal costs of boundary disputes that arise from surveying errors.

If you are currently buying a property, you may think you are covered; be sure to take another look. Your lender may have required you to purchase a title insurance policy but be aware that this does not cover you as the homeowner. If you want to be covered, you need a separate owner’s title insurance policy. Because they are not required in every state, many homeowners do not purchase their title insurance policy. This can be a big mistake, as anyone who has incurred legal costs as the result of a title defect will tell you. 

You also need to make sure you have the right endorsements added to your policy to protect from situations like encroachments and boundary disputes that were not revealed in the initial survey. These types of title defects are usually not covered by your standard owner’s title insurance policy. Once you have your survey conducted, you can add a survey endorsement or access endorsement that will cover issues that arise from boundary lines being redrawn.

At World Wide Land Transfer, we have been providing strong title insurance policies to homeowners, sellers, and lenders since 2004, making us the perfect source of information for you. Call our team today with any questions you may have about title insurance in PA or any other state. We can answer your questions and help you find an affordable title insurance policy that works for you.

World Wide Land Transfer is a service-oriented PA title company with offices in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C. With a record of going above and beyond, we are trusted to close everything from complex commercial transactions to residential refinance and purchase transactions.

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