Buying a commercial property in Pennsylvania may be a complicated process, especially for investors who are planning on undertaking renovations or new construction. There are several aspects potential buyers may want to consider before finalizing a transaction, and a surveyor could provide essential information.
Commercial properties are often subject to unique zoning laws and may have easements and environmental features that could affect building plans. According to FindLaw, an easement is a nonpossessory interest that allows someone access to or use of land that another individual owns. In most cases, easements transfer with the sale of the property. As such, if an investor buys commercial property with existing easements, construction plans may have to account for the easement by allowing continuing access to the easement holder.
There are several types of land surveys that a professional may perform. For example, a topographic survey that maps out geographical slopes and natural features on a property may be useful before creating construction plans. After that, a construction survey may locate and stake out building sites.
While these types of surveys are useful during the early phase of construction, potential buyers may want to complete an ALTA survey before purchasing a commercial property. The National Society of Professional Surveyors indicates that the standards for an ALTA survey come from an agreement between the NSPS and the American Land Title Association. This type of land title survey covers numerous aspects: boundary lines, easements, access points, building locations, utilities and water features. To complete an ALTA survey, a professional surveyor may need to find and examine public records and existing maps and combine this information with data from a topographical survey of the land. The goal of an ATLA survey is to provide lenders and buyers with as much information on potential title problems as possible.