Buyer Beware: Copyright Issues of Existing Survey

by Mike Yeo on August 25, 2011

A survey is a property sketch of the building footprint and it also determines the property boundaries. It also shows easements, encroachments and other physical features such as fence line, shed, patio, swimming pool, etc. in relations to the house. The building line is also on the property and title companies need to verify to make sure that no structure was built past the building setback. It is required as part of the real estate transaction by the buyer’s lender as well as the title company.

Copyright issues of surveyExisting surveys are allowed to be used for the transaction. Many of them do. Along with the existing survey, the homeowner needs to fill out a T-47 affidavit to indicate if any improvements have been made on the property that could affect the survey. The T-47 is notarized by a notary in the State of Texas.

There are copyright issues on surveys that most real estate agents and homeowners are NOT aware of. When you are in a real estate transaction, you must make sure that the survey to which the party is addressed to is a principal (ie owner) of the survey. The property surveys are not allowed to be used over and over again, changed multiple owners because this property survey is only made and paid for by the names to the party of the transaction when it was ordered new.

Also, only the owners of the surveys are allowed to make copies of the survey. The title company and the real estate agent are not allowed. When the survey is sent to the transaction, there is usually 6 copies – 3 of which is sent back to the surveyor, the buyer’s lender and one kept on title company’s file. The other 3 is for the buyer to keep.

Some title companies ignore the copyright issues and most lenders do not understand the copyright issues. You do not have a problem until you need to seek the surveyor’s involvement on problems of the survey.

The copyright for other party users expires when no principles to the transaction is on the survey. Do your due diligence. Hence, the box on Paragraph 6C(1) of the Texas Residential sales contract becomes much more important as in who will pay for a new survey if a new one is ordered.

So buyers – if you use an existing survey to complete the survey requirement on the transaction, do know that you will not be able to use the survey again in the future when you sell the property. A new one must be ordered. And who will pay for it depends on your negotiation with the other party.

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Loreena Yeo
Frisco TX Realtor® / Broker of 3:16 team REALTY
(214) 783-2210

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Copyright © 2010 by Loreena Yeo (3:16 team REALTY).
Originally Posted on Copyright Issues of Existing Survey

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