Companies that purchase commercial real estate often find that the process is complex, especially in California. One common issue relates to easement disputes. Many commercial properties in California include easements affecting access to and/or usage of certain parts of the land. In some cases, easements place restrictions on real estate owners and require compensation for the potential decrease in the property's value. A professional survey may provide several benefits to property owners, such as indicating easement boundaries.
According to the California Land Title Association, an easement is a right related to real estate ownership. Typically, an easement grants an individual or entity the legal right to made limited use of the property owned by someone else. Easements usually do not confer the right to occupy or profit from the land. While many easements have official records in public documents, easements may sometimes exist even if there is not a legal record. In some cases, easements may affect the development prospects of the property. This makes it especially important for buyers of commercial real estate to thoroughly inspect the property to learn whether any easements exist before completing the real estate transaction. A professional survey may help potential owners identify easements and avoid legal disputes with the seller and other relevant parties.
There are several different types of property surveys. Some cover only the boundary lines of the property and may not include any information on structures existing on the land. For commercial real estate buyers, an ALTA/NSPS land title survey may be the most useful option. The American Land Title Association and National Society of Professional Surveyors require ALTA/NSPS surveys to meet specific standards of included details. For example, a surveyor may have to research and report on recorded easements. The surveyor may also include evidence of non-recorded easements that he or she observed when surveying the property. The minimum standard requirements of an ALTA/NSPS survey may provide information on easements that is essential to real estate transactions.