Benchmark Title Company, LLC


This week's Title Tip of the Week discusses the use of surveys on commercial and residential property, when they may be required, who may request them, and who is responsible to pay for them.    

by Doreen Miller, Esq.

Questions often arise in real estate transactions, especially those involving commercial property transaction, regarding the need for a survey.  In most local residential transactions, surveys are not required by the title company.  The requirement for a survey varies within the State of Illinois.  Site surveys are required in residential closings in the Chicago area, so newcomers to this area may not be aware of local custom. There are exceptions to this general rule, however.  Sometimes an overlap or encroachment over easements or building lines is clearly evident or information is made known to the parties or title company by earlier recordings or title repots.  There may be disputes regarding placements of ingress and egress easements.  In still other cases, an old legal description may be vague or lengthy and in need of revision.  In these instances, a survey would be advisable in a residential transaction.


A division of a property into parcels less than 5 acres may necessitate a subdivision plat.  A subdivision plat is a specialized type of survey and needs to be approved by several parties.  If a division of a parcel of land is contemplated, it would be advisable for the parties to confer with the Mapping and Platting Department of the County in which the land is located to discuss the requirements to achieve their goal.  If the land is within a municipality, the Building or Zoning Inspector may also have to provide a letter to approve the split.


Surveys are almost always required in a commercial transaction.  This requirement is frequently raised by commercial lenders who request survey endorsements and "extended coverage" on their loan policies.  The surveys required are called ALTA (American Land Title Association) surveys.  These survey should be current and show all improvements, easements, encroachments, rights of way and other exceptions to the title commitment.  Zoning classifications and parking space configurations may also be requested to be shown on the survey.  These surveys should be certified to the title insurance company and the underwriter.  Customers sometimes request title companies to rely on surveys more than a year old.  This can be done if the original surveyor executes an affidavit certifying that he has inspected the property and there has been no changes since the date of the original survey.


Locally, the parties to the transaction must hire the surveyor and determine the allocation of the cost of the survey between the parties.  This should be done as early as possible so as not to delay the closing date.  Your title insurance company representative can give a few recommendations on names of surveyors in the area for those parties unfamiliar with the region. Parties should provide their title companies with the name of the surveyor so the title company can provide the title report and exception documents to the land surveyor.  The surveyor might also want to speak to the title company to determine exactly what type of survey is required for the transaction:  site survey, boundary survey, subdivision plat or ALTA survey. 

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

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   Employee Spotlight

 Joni Evans

 Joni Evans has been with Benchmark since the day we opened our doors in February 1998.  She started in the title insurance industry in 1985 as a title searcher, researching the state of title to residential and commercial properties in the public records.  She began examining and preparing title commitments in 1987.  Joni has handled the examination of residential and commercial title for 20 years and is one of the most experienced title examiners in the Metro East.  Joni was promoted to Senior Title Officer, when we formed our Commercial Division in 2005.  She lives in Millstadt with her husband, Tim and has 4 children and 3 grandchildren, the youngest, Ethan, was born May 7th of this year.  Joni can be reached at 618-239-3750 or by email at


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