WHAT IS A PLOT PLAN?

What is a Plot Plan and why do I need a Plot Plan?
A Plot Plan, or more precisely named Mortgage Inspection Plan is used by title insurance companies and mortgage lenders to answer the following questions:

Does the house or building, as well as accessory structures (pools, sheds, etc), conform to the local setback zoning by-laws? Does the house or building, as well as accessory structures, fall within the F.E.M.A. flood hazard zone (which would require flood insurance)?
Is there any building encroachments?
Are there any easements that are attached to the property?

In addition to answering these questions, our plan indicates the reference information used in its preparation. These references include deed book and page numbers, property plan numbers, land court plan numbers (if applicable), assessor map and lot numbers and F.E.M.A. rate map numbers. This information can be very helpful to the homeowner.

Because our measurements are taken with tapes only, and not with electronic surveying instruments, the accuracy is usually within two to three feet. It must be remembered that the field work involved in preparing the Mortgage Inspection Plan does not include the setting of property line stakes. Therefore, although tape measurements are sufficient to make zoning and flood hazard determinations, the plan should not be used as a substitute for a "Building Permit Plot Plan" or to determine property lines.

Using Our Expertise...
Often at the closing of a residential property, the borrower erroneously believes that the mortgage plot plan presented is an accurate land survey. The following information is a summary of the purposes of the Mortgage Inspection Plot Plan, and what differentiates it from a Certified Plot Plan (Land or Boundary Survey).

How is the Mortgage Plot Plan Performed?
1) A physical inspection of the dwelling's exterior is made, with tape measurements to show the approximate location of the dwelling.
2) Record documents are obtained at the Registry of Deeds or town offices to determine the lot configuration.
3) Information from the field is merged with record information to create a drawing of the property (the plot plan) and the approximate location of the dwelling on the lot.
4) Flood zone is determined.
5) Quality review performed by Professional Land Surveyor.

What is the Purpose of the Mortgage Plot Plan?
The mortgage plot plan is a tool used to identify potential survey problems. Not to be confused with an instrument survey, the mortgage plot plan serves several very basic purposes:
1) To satisfy part of a real estate closing.
2) Certifies compliance of the original dwelling with zoning set-back requirements at the time of construction.
3) Certifies as to the flood zone of the dwelling (for flood insurance purposes).
4) May identify and note potential encroachments, boundary conflicts, violations or other on-the-ground problems worthy of further investigation.

What is Not Provided by a Mortgage Plot Plan?
1) No representation is made as to the accuracy of the depicted property lines!
2) No attempt has been made to verify the boundary configuration or, typically, the mathematical correctness of the description!
3) Property corners can not be located based on this type of plan, therefore no fences, hedge rows or other improvements can be determined or located!
4) The location of any improvements shown are approximate, and therefore any planned construction should not be based on the locations as shown!

What is a Certified Plot Plan (Boundary, Land or Instrument Survey)?
An accurate survey involves the location of established monuments or survey control points, which are then mathematically tied in to the property being surveyed. This process utilizes sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment, and precisely locates both the property lines and the improvements on the property in relation to those property lines.

Please Note:
In any circumstance where accuracy is required - for construction, location of fences, pools or other improvements - a full instrument survey is necessary. No changes or designs should be made using a Mortgage Inspection Plot Plan - it is not an accurate survey and is not intended for these purposes.