Commercial Refinancing and Land Survey Requirements

Market conditions are growing more favorable for property owners looking to reduce the amount of interest they pay on a commercial property loan. Refinancing a commercial property allows you to obtain access to current interest rates, which can be very beneficial if your original loan was obtained when interest rates were at their highest.


Land surveys play an important role in the completion of any commercial property refinancing. The finance company wants to know the current value of the property so that they can make an informed decision when it comes to extending credit to refinance the commercial property.


A land survey that is used for the purpose of commercial refinancing must contain some very specific pieces of information.


Property Improvements

Most finance companies require a land survey that adheres to ALTA (The American Land Title Association) standards before considering a request to refinance a commercial property. Included in these ALTA surveys is information on any improvements that have been made to the property.


Finance companies will use this information to help determine the current value of the property in preparation for financing. Improvements can include a wide range of items. Signage that has been installed on the property, asphalt parking lots and cement sidewalks, and any landscaping fixtures (like a sprinkler system or fountain) can be classified as improvements.


These property add-ons can each increase the value of the plot in question, so understanding the scope of the improvements is critical when refinancing commercial real estate loans.



ALTA surveys don't require that information on utilities be included in the surveyor's final report, but many lending companies want to know about utilities that exist on the property or are serving the property to help establish value.


Utilities are an optional feature on ALTA surveys. You can choose between a basic observed evidence inclusion or a more comprehensive location description of utilities. Be sure to check with your lender to determine which utility option meets their minimum requirements.


Observed evidence is anything that a surveyor can see above the ground. This evidence might be utility poles, electric boxes, or water faucets installed on the exterior of buildings.


Comprehensive utility surveys require the surveyor to interpret data collected from the utility company, municipal records, and the clients' accounting records to determine the scope of utility services present. These types of utility surveys will cost more because they require more labor to complete.



The way that a property is accessed can have a direct impact on its value. Commercial properties need to have direct access to ensure customers and vendors can do business with ease.


An ALTA survey will always include information on accessibility limitations that might affect the value of a property. These limitations can include things like easements, roads, or right-of-ways that run through the boundaries of the commercial property.


Sometimes topographic features can restrict access to certain areas within a commercial plot of land. If your property has any bodies of water or steep changes in elevation that limit access, the ALTA survey will document this topographical information for the finance company.


Refinancing a commercial loan can be an arduous and time-consuming process. You almost certainly need a land survey before you can complete the refinancing process, and most finance companies want surveys that adhere to the strict standards of an ALTA survey.


These land surveys take time to complete because they rely on in-depth information to assess the location, improvements, accessibility, and other important factors that help determine property value.


Contact Community Sciences Corporation for more information on ALTA land surveys if you are thinking of refinancing your commercial property in the near future.

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