Well, answer to that question is, “it depends”. There is a standard exception in all title insurance policies that excludes from coverage encroachments, overlaps, boundary line disputes and other matters which could be disclosed by a current survey. A title agent is permitted to remove this exception if a survey is provided to the title agent for their review. In some instances, a prospective purchaser may be familiar with the property and desire not to incur the extra cost of procuring a survey; this is okay. However, if the purchase is going to be financed by an institutional lender, the institutional lender will insist on a specialized endorsement referred to as a “Florida Form 9”. A title agent may not issue a Form 9 endorsement without reviewing a current survey.
What’s considered a current survey? Most Title insurance underwriters consider a survey to be current if the survey is procured within 90 days of closing. In some instances, an older survey may be relied upon provided the owners certify that no improvements have been constructed on the subject property since the date of the survey. In short, if you're receiving financing from an institutional lender, then a current survey will need to be provided; unless the current owner can demonstrate to title agent that an older survey may be relied upon.
We believe that purchasing a new survey will serve the purchaser better than relying on a survey that maybe older than 10 years. Having a new survey today will save you from significant expense tomorrow should you discover an encroachment or issue.
I. General Requirements For Surveys
When used for removing the survey exception in a title policy, the survey should comply with the minimum requirements adopted by the Florida Department of Professional Regulation, Board of Land Surveyors. See Ch. 61, G17-6, F.A.C. On surveys prepared prior to September 1, 1997, the certificate of the surveyor can be relied on as evidence that the technical requirements of the rule have been satisfied. After September 1, 1997, a certificate of the surveyor is not necessary, and it may be assumed that the survey meets the minimum technical standards unless otherwise stated on the survey. Ch. 61, G17-6.003(1), F.A.C. Reliance upon a survey is dependent upon the following:
II. Survey Requirements For Refinance Transaction
When a mortgage policy is issued in a refinance, most underwriters will waive the requirement for a current survey (within 90 days of closing) and rely on an older survey if there have been no changes since the date of the last survey and an affidavit is obtained from the owner of the property. The affidavit from the current owner must state that:
III. Surveys For Platted, Single-Family Residential Lots
If the real property is a platted, single-family residential lot, most underwriters will not require either a current or an older survey to insure a refinance if the Title Agent is provided with a prior owner’s mortgage policy for the property in which the standard survey exception has been removed or deleted. However, as to any Schedule B exceptions on the prior policy, the Title Agent must carry forward such exceptions to the new mortgagee policy. The Borrower (mortgagor) must execute an affidavit stating that no improvements have been constructed on the insured property or on the adjoining property that would encroach onto the insured property since the date of the prior policy. Likewise, the affidavit must also state that it is given to induce the named title insurance underwriter to issue a policy.
IV. When issuing an Owner’s Policy
When issuing an Owner's Policy some underwriters will waive the requirement for a current survey (within 90 days of closing) and rely upon an older survey, provided that the following conditions are met:
The guidelines set forth in items II, III and IV also apply to issuing the Florida Form 9 Endorsements.