To Survey or Not to Survey? 🤔

Included in the Contract to Buy are many contingency rights wherein a buyer has a specified period of time to examine important components that affect the property. These contingencies include appraised value, physical inspection, insurability, title, HOA, loan acceptability and survey matters.


If you decide you want a survey on a home, be sure to include deadlines in any contract you submit to perform them. Your Contract will also define who (Buyer or Seller) has to pay for a survey. There are four basic types of surveys available in Colorado for residential properties. They vary in information provided, cost, and time to complete. 

$ IMPROVEMENT LOCATION CERTIFICATE (ILC): Important, an ILC is NOT actually a survey, but is a professional rendition of a visual inspection of the property. The surveyor ties the fixed improvements to what s/he perceives to be the visual edges of the property. The surveyor uses the recorded plat or recorded deed for all measurements.  An ILC is not required to show encroachments unless they are of improvements. ILCs usually shows major structures, distances from structures to the deed property lines, may also show easement areas. Most of the time, an ILC will be sufficient for most mortgage companies requiring a survey for their borrower. This is the most commonly requested type of survey on the Colorado real estate sales contract. ILCs are the least expensive, easiest to schedule; allow 7 - 10 days and expect costs around $500.

$$ LAND SURVEY PLAT (PIN): Typically known as a boundary survey or property survey and unofficially called a pin survey. Surveyor is required to set all corner points of the property boundary. This plat does not show improvements. Typically used for raw land sales. Expect Land Survey Plats to start around $1,000 and allow at least 2 weeks to book and complete.

$$$ IMPROVEMENT SURVEY PLAT (LSP+): Known as a Land Survey Plat Plus. Same as a Land Survey Plat, but also shows many types of improvements, utilities, encroachments. Expect these to start around $1,500 and plan between 2-3 weeks to get a report.

$$$$ A.L.T.A. / A.C.S.M. SURVEY: This takes the Land Survey Plat and adds additional criteria set by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). Usually done on commercial and high-end residential sales. This is the most expensive and comprehensive survey. Costs start around $2,500; plan no less than 3 weeks to complete.