What is a Real Property Report?
A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries. (Improvements to be shown are outlined in Part D, Section 8.5 of the Manual of Standard Practice.)
Over the years, the standards for Real Property Reports have changed.
It takes the form of a plan or illustration of the various physical features of the property, including a written statement detailing the surveyor’s opinions or concerns.
It can be relied upon by the buyer, the seller, the lender and the municipality as an accurate representation of the improvements on your property.
Who needs a Real Property Report?
Property owners, to be informed of:
- The locations of improvements within the property boundaries,
- Any encroachments from adjacent properties, and
- Property compliance with municipal requirements
Property Purchasers, to be informed of:
- The boundary and improvement locations on the property, and
- Any problems relating to the property boundaries.
Municipalities, to assist them:
- In determining compliance with bylaws and fire codes, and
- In the planning and development process.
Property Sellers (vendors), to provide:
- Protection from potential future legal liabilities resulting from problems related to property boundaries and improvements.
Mortgage Lenders, to be informed of:
- Conformance of improvements with municipal bylaws, and
- Problems that may have to be resolved prior to registration of the mortgage
- Provide a visual representation of the property for sale,
- Meet requirements of the real estate listing/purchase contract, and
- Have information to avoid delays in completing property transactions when a Real Property Report is arranged early in the sales process.
How does a Real Property Report protect you?
Purchasing a property may be the largest financial investment you ever make. With a Real Property report, owners are aware of any boundary problems. They know whether their new home is too close to the property line, or part of their garage is on their neighbour’s land, or vice versa.
“Good boundaries make good neighbors!”
Since legal complications may occur if a sold property fails to meet requirements, a Real Property Report protects the seller.
How does municipal compliance protect you?
A Real Property Report is necessary to determine compliance with municipal bylaws. A municipality reviews and endorses the Real Property Report and indicates if the improvements meet the requirements of the local bylaws. The property owner can then resolve any outstanding issues identified by the municipality. Early preparation of a Real Property Report significantly speeds up the process of selling a property.
How long is a Real Property Report valid?
The Real Property Report is a “snap shot” of the property on the date of the survey. Changes are often made to improvements on a property or adjoining properties. These may be new or modified fences, decks, driveways, garages or other features. Only an updated Real Property Report can show their location relative to property boundaries. Changes to your title will also be shown.
How can I get a Real Property Report updated?
In many cases, it is more economical to update an existing Real Property Report. Contact the Alberta Land Surveyor who did the original Real Property Report. The Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association does not have records of who did any individual Real Property Reports.
Your Real Property Report will show:
- Diagram from inside the Real Property Report brochure.
- Legal Description of property and municipal address (A)
- Dimensions and directions of all property boundaries (B)
- Designation of adjacent properties, roads, lanes, etc (C)
- Location and description of all relevant improvements situated on the property together with dimensions and distances from the property boundaries (D); for a list of the improvements which must be shown, refer to Part D, Section 8.5 of the ALSA’s Manual of Standard Practice.
- Other significant improvements (E)
- Right-of-way or easements as noted on the title to the property at the date of survey (F)
- Location and dimension of any visible encroachments onto, or off of, the property (G)
- A duly signed certification and opinion by an Alberta Land Surveyor (H)
- Copyright (I)
- Permit Stamp (J) (where applicable)
- A municipality may request additional information
How is a Real Property Report prepared?
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. It will be necessary for the Alberta Land Surveyor to access property markers on the subject and nearby properties.
- Prepare a plan (diagram) reflecting the results of the field survey and title research.
How much does a Real Property Report cost?
The amount of work to prepare a Real Property Report varies between properties. Lot size and shape, number of buildings, natural features, age and availability of the property boundary information all affect the cost. Approximate cost range of $500-800.
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 service 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.
Who are Alberta Land Surveyors?
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.
The benefits of a Real Property Report:
- Problems are identified and can be resolved before a sale is finalized.
- Owners know accurate locations and dimensions of buildings, improvements, rights-of-way, and encroachments relative to boundaries of their property.
- Purchasers know the physical dimensions of the property.
- Financing usually requires verified survey information.
- Property transactions are simplified.
- Development and building permits require boundary information.