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When It’s a Survey and When It’s Not

In the purchase of a home or other real estate, other than condominiums without land involved, there will normally be a survey, ILC, or ILR done for the property.  ILC, Improvement Location Certificate, and ILR, Improvement Location Report, are just different names for the same procedure and documents produced.  As the title insurer wants to be certain of the actual boundaries of the property, as well as what structures are located where on the property, one of these three will be required, a survey, ILC or ILR.  If a survey exists on the property, and is less than 10 years old, sometimes older, then the title insurer will likely only require an ILC or an ILR. This is because it's much less expensive, and it can normally be completed much faster than a full boundary or ALTA survey. The title insurer wants to know they're insuring the right property in the right dimensions. They also want to know if all structures are properly situated and not encroaching on another parcel, as well as about any other parcels with structures or improvements encroaching on the property to be insured.  The full boundary survey will be referenced, and the surveyor will still go out and do measurements and location stakes. However, the ILR or ILC is produced only for the title insurer's purposes, and explicitly states that it can't be used by the new owner for other purposes later. This is a liability limitation to protect surveyors who aren't doing the more extensive work required by a full survey. The buyer isn't concerned, as they merely want to know that all is well with boundaries and structures, and that the title insurer is going to insure based on the accuracy of the ILR or ILC. Sometimes this isn't a basic title insurance coverage item, and an extra premium is required for survey coverage.

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