Below are some of the more frequently asked questions that we see. Click the question and the answer will be revealed below it.
In a real estate transaction, the Real Property Report provides assurance in regards to the location of the boundaries of the parcel, as well as all structures and their relation to the boundaries. The Real Property Report can help to identify possible conflicts with adjacent owners, or with structures that may not be compliant with municipal bylaws. This gives the buyer and the lender peace of mind knowing the location of all buildings, registered easements and encroachments.
Alberta Land Surveyors are professionals – current standards require a university degree followed by an articling period and a series of professional examinations. Land Surveyors are governed by provincial law with a mandate to protect the public’s interest in matter of real property boundaries. Additionally, they must be registered with the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association. An extensive practice review program ensures surveyors maintain high professional standards.
An Alberta Land Surveyor is fully responsible for the accuracy of the information in a Real Property Report. Land Surveyors carry professional liability insurance as added protection for the consumer.
A registered Alberta Land Surveyor is the only individual who can legally prepare a Real Property Report. A valid Real Property Report must bear the original signature and permit stamp of the Alberta Land Surveyor. In preparing a Real Property Report, an Alberta Land Surveyor will:
- Search the title of the subject property
- Search all pertinent encumbrances registered against the title of the subject property
- Search all plans related to the location of boundaries of the subject property
- Perform a field survey to determine the dimensions of the property and location of improvements, and
- Prepare a plan (diagram) reflecting the results of the field survey and title research.
The amount of work to prepare a Real Property Report varies between properties. Lot size and shape, the number of buildings, natural features, age and availability of the property boundary information all affect the cost.
A Real Property Report is only a small portion of your total property investment and may help you avoid costly problems in the future.
A Real Property Report does not include replacement of any property corner posts. Arrangements can be made to have property boundaries visibly marked on the ground. It is most economical to have this additional survey performed at the time of the survey. Neighboring landowners occasionally share the cost because of the mutual benefit of the Real Property Report and marking of boundaries.
To order any type of survey you should be prepared with the municipal address of the property (street address) and the legal address (if possible). The legal address is the description on your title, the unique identifier of your parcel of land. This is generally a Lot, Block, and Plan number, or in the case of a condominium, it will be a Unit number and Plan number. This description can be found on your certificate of title. If you are prepared with this information you can proceed to order your survey by contacting our office by phone, or by using the order form provided on this website.
A real property report is only valid when the Alberta Land Surveyor signed it. However, if there have been no changes to the property since the previous Real Property Report, the buyer may agree to accept it if you sign an affidavit declaring that there have been no changes. It is generally safer and a more accepted form of practice for the buyer to request an updated real property report. If the original real property report is less than twenty years old, an updated real property report can be provided for a discounted price.
Municipal Compliance is a stamp of approval from the city or municipal district on a real property report to denote that all structures on the property are compliant with municipal bylaws. Some of these bylaws may include the distance from a building to the property line, retaining walls or other structures into utility right of ways, or the distance of a deck to the property line. The stamp of compliance ensures the buyer in a real estate transaction that the property they are purchasing complies with all bylaws. Early preparation of a Real Property Report significantly speeds up the process of selling a property.
There are monuments in the ground that surveyors use to determine property boundaries. In older areas these monuments may not have been placed at each lot corner, hence the surveyor must look for monuments that may not be on the actual property they are surveying. In newer areas, some of the monuments may have been destroyed by construction or fences. Some of these monuments may be countersunk in the ground, resulting in the surveyor digging a hole to expose them.
Section 16 of The Surveys Act states “A surveyor and his authorized assistants may, using reasonable care, pass over, measure along and ascertain the bearings of any line or boundary, and for those purposes may pass over or through the land and buildings of any person, but the surveyor is liable for any damage the surveyor or his assistants cause.”
For more information on survey, monuments check this link http://www.alsa.ab.ca/PublicInformation/BoundaryMarkers.aspx
Before building anything on your property, it is strongly advised that you should be sure of the location of your boundaries. The best way to determine this is to request a “property line survey”. A property line survey consists of a field crew coming to the property and putting physical markers in the ground to show you where your property line is. This differs from a Real Property Report because you do not receive a drawing to accompany the survey, only the physical markings on the ground, whereas a Real Property Report will provide you with a drawing, but will leave no markers to show where the property line is.