All CMBS conduit loans require ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys, the standards of which are created by the American Land Title Association and National Society of Professional Surveyors. These standards, which provide for the minimum details that must be included on survey drawings for a property to be acceptable for a CMBS conduit loan, are considered to be high in the real estate surveying business. Such surveys can be both costly and time consuming, particularly if the survey is drawn from scratch. In addition, information included in the property survey is dependent on information in the title report, which can also be another long-lead item that is not delivered until the approaching closing date.
All this spells potential for high costs and a delay in closing. But borrowers can mitigate this risk. Since most CMBS conduit loans are refinances, the scheduled CMBS closing is not the first time a property has been mortgaged. If the property is currently mortgaged, it is likely the property was previously surveyed.
It is very important that borrowers keep copies of prior surveys in a safe place. In most instances, the firm that completed the prior survey can update it at a much lower cost than a surveyor starting from scratch. To find out who the prior surveyor is, look for the firm’s contact information in the title block on the actual survey, then give the company a quick call. Such an update can sometimes be completed in a week versus the typical three-week turnaround for a new survey. Furthermore, the prior survey can be used to get the zoning consultant started on their report.
The bottom line is that keeping the old survey in a safe place can really help when it’s time to do a CMBS conduit loan in terms of quicker closings and lower costs.