Getting a Mortgage? Beware of this surprise!

The joyful noise of the phone surprised me, but it was not the magnitude of surprise that my client experienced the day before her scheduled closing.

It was an ordinary day for my client. She got up, showered, had coffee and breakfast, then went to work.  The call from her attorney was unexpected, but not as much as his announcement that the closing had to be postponed: the title company had not received the certified boundary survey.   Of course they hadn’t received it, because it was never ordered! Someone dropped the ball. So, she jumped to action – calling me to get a certified survey.

I was in the field at the time.  Fortunately, there was cell coverage for my Verizon Wireless communication device.  I phoned the closing coordinator and asked her to email a copy of the title report to me.  I packed the equipment, walked to the truck, and drove to the house that she was purchasing.  Fortunately for her, I had completed a boundary survey on that parcel a few years prior.  I located any new improvements on the parcel, and any improvements on the adjoining parcels that were near the boundary close to the boundaries. I proceeded to the Rensselaer County Clerk’s office to ascertain the present owners of the adjoining parcels. When I returned to the office, I reviewed the title report, revised the previous survey as needed, placed the proper certifications on the plat, printed it, and called the lender’s representative to announce my impending arrival.  The certified plat was delivered in less than five hours.

I was glad to be in a position that allowed me to meet my client’s need.  Had I been out of town, or in a spot with no cell service, their final disbursement would have been delayed another day or two.  Resolution came quickly, this time.

My advice to borrowers is this: Ask the lender and title company if they will require a certified survey.  They should know the answer well before the closing.  If they don’t know, keep asking so your closing is not delayed.  In good economic times, your surveyor might not be able to respond the same day as your request.

My advice to lenders and title companies is this: Always require a certified survey.  Why lend money using a property as collateral that might have a boundary problem?  It is in your and your client’s best interest.