Vancouver’s 3 F’s

Please Welcome Wanda Wong Wilson, Notary Public. This is Wanda’s first ever post and I’m excited that she is here to share her knowledge.

What and Why

As a Notary Public I often find myself explaining to clients what surveys are and why they are required by their Banks as a condition of their mortgage.


Most Banks require Purchasers to have either a valid survey or title insurance. If you are buying strata property a survey is not required. A survey shows the measurements of the property lines and the location of the house within the property lines, any rights of way, and the location of any other permanent structures on the property. This is not to be confused with a subdivision plan which shows the location of all the lots on the street, a Survey only shows your lot and your house on it.

If the house is over the property lines or built on a right of way, this can jeopardize the Purchaser’s mortgage as this information must be relayed to the Banks before they will advance your mortgage funds.

If there turns out to be a survey problem, Purchasers can apply for title insurance and if the title insurance company is willing to insure the transaction with a survey defect on it, the Bank may or may not still fund the mortgage to close the transaction, depending on their own review of the situation on a case by case basis.

The Reason

This highlights the importance of having a valid survey before you purchase a house and even the value of making it a subject in your contracts of purchase and sale, but make sure you know the differences of the types of surveys out there.

Generally speaking a survey is good for mortgage purposes provided it is not any older than 25 years and no changes have been made to the original foundation of the property. A valid survey will have a date on it and the signature and seal of a licensed surveyor.


Courtesy Notaries of B.C.


There are 3 common types of surveys, Forms, Foundation, and Final, the three Fs of surveys. Each have important differences.

A Forms survey is completed when the pegs are laid before the foundation is poured. It is required by the municipality when applying for a building permit. This type of survey will be marked “forms” right on it, but they are usually not acceptable for most Banks as forms can be moved and shifted around before the foundation is poured so they are not always accurate and usually too old as they are done when the house is built. These are usually available at the municipality offices for a minimal fee, but are usually not otherwise useful as most banks will not accept these surveys for mortgage purposes, so save yourself the trouble of making that trip to City Hall.

A Foundation survey is done when the foundation is laid, this is more reliable than the forms survey and is also marked “foundation” right on it, there are some banks that will accept this type of survey, but the majority of them will not as it usually doesn’t show all of the out buildings, such as garages.

The most reliable type of survey and the one accepted by all the banks is the Final survey, done after the house is completed and all the out buildings are completed as well, anything with a foundation under it will be shown on this type of survey, along with the location of all rights of way.

Once you have this type of survey it can be used every-time you need to refinance your mortgage or switch Banks, and can be passed on to new owners when you sell your property, provided it is not older than 25 years and no changes are made to the foundation.

It is a worthwhile investment to have a survey done for peace of mind and convenience as it may also be used to help you locate your property lines and rights of way if you are planning to put up a fence, shed, porch, or garage, to ensure it is done within your property lines.


If you are planning any other major renovations or construction projects that would change the size of your house you will need to get a more detailed survey done when applying for your building permit, this type of survey will cost considerably more to have done than a survey that is done for mortgage purposes only. For most people they will only need a survey for mortgage purposes, when they are buying an existing finished home, these types of surveys are very reasonably priced in comparison with title insurance policies.

If you are a Buyer and are not sure if you have a problem with a survey or if it is one your Bank will accept it is a good idea to have your legal professional review it for you. If it is substandard they can order a new one for you. A proper survey is a requirement prior to ‘closing’ your purchase and advance your mortgage funds on the completion date.

If it is a subject in your contract to have a valid and satisfactory survey, your Realtor or legal professional should review it for you to make sure it meets all the requirements before you remove this subject.

If you are a Seller or Realtor it is a good idea to provide a Survey to the Buyer if you have one, as part of the disclosure process.

Need a quick, reliable survey for mortgage purposes, I recommend Don from Westcoast surveys at 604-543-8665. Ask for a quote for your area. He’ll be happy to help.

Wanda Wong Wilson – Notary Public -604-267-2215

*Disclaimer: All information Courtesy of Wanda Wong Wilson, Notary Public. Wanda can be reached at 604-267-2215

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

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*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

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