Spot surveys were the norm in the St Louis area for many years. They were cheaper. The title coverage was not quite as great, but it wasn’t significantly different, so why bother paying for a boundary survey which would be at least a $100 more? Now the primary title companies in the area are insisting on boundary surveys before providing survey coverage to the buyers. Yesterday I got the results back on a villa in a very nice area. We had 6 encroachments that the seller is now going to have to pay to have fixed. That’s $30 a pop for each of the six encroachments just to record the paperwork with the county. That’s time and trouble to go to each of the neighbors AND the villa’s trustees and management company to get them to sign off and approve easements for the encroachments AND if the people who are being encroached upon don’t agree, then a lot of money is going to have to be paid to move the entire perimeter fence for the villa. That’s the potential of having to pay the title company $150 (approximately) to draft an easement deed for each encroachment – luckily the title company we are dealing with no longer charges that fee, but many still do. Why are we making the seller do the work now? I represent the buyer – the rules and regs for the complex clearly state that the owner can be fined if their fence is on someone else’s property AND when the property next door is sold, the new buyers can make the fence be moved at that time, which would then be at my buyer’s expense. I’m not protecting my buyer if I take the attitude that everyone is OK with the situation now, since we then run the risk that the full cost would be against my buyer at a later time. The cost to the seller now – FAR more than the cost of a boundary survey originally when he could have had the person he bought from fix the problems and pay the costs that he will now pay. – A penny saved – a pound foolish. Always make sure that the survey’s are checked – it’s a good idea also to take the survey and go back to the home and look at the lot with the survey in hand. I have one now where the surveyor put in writing that there were no visible encroachments but I can stand in the street, look at the stakes and pins and see what appears to be an encroachment, so I’ve got a call into that surveyor to ask why that isn’t an encroachment.
Spot vs Boundary Surveys
by Dale Weir