Continuing our series of commonly asked questions, we asked Houston-based attorney Syndy Davis a few questions regarding survey requirements in Texas:
Syndy, are lenders required to get a new or revised survey for a loan closing in Texas?
Texas law does not require a survey. However, lenders should require the title insurance policy insuring the lien include both the T-19 Endorsement and the Amendment of Exception to Areas and Boundaries under P-2(a) (commonly known as “survey coverage”), to meet Fannie and Freddie guidelines.
Each title company will have its own underwriting standards on issuing the T-19. It is also up to the title company to determine what it will accept as “evidence of an existing property survey” under P-2, in order to provide this coverage. So, it is critical lenders in Texas understand where the title company stands on each of these issues prior to closing.
Are there certain transactions that require a survey?
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) 1-4 Family Residential Contract, which is widely used throughout the state for residential resales, contains a provision that does require some type of survey in connection with the closing. This may require a new survey or the use of an existing survey accompanied by an Affidavit of No Change.
Other transactions that likely require a new survey include new construction, carve outs, and subsequent improvements, among others.
Could title fully insure a transaction when a survey is not available?
We do see this scenario commonly in refinance transactions. Procedural Rule P-2 of the Texas Title Insurance Basic Manual allows title to accept evidence of an existing survey and provide coverage of a loan policy. Title companies must interpret what evidences an existing survey. Some accept a copy of an existing policy that provides survey coverage of the subject property. Others will provide survey coverage if the property is in a platted subdivision under the theory the existing loan being paid off had a title insurance policy that included survey coverage.