The T-47 Residential Real Property Affidavit (also known simply as the T-47) is a notarized form that complements a survey in a real estate transaction. It is used when both parties to the transaction want to use an older survey from when the seller bought the home and is used to attest the correctness of the survey from the sellers point of view. As a seller, you’ll need to fill out this form correctly and fully and give it to your real estate agent for their files. We’ll break down the form to help you fill it out accurately, but first, let’s talk about when to use the form. In order to do that, we’re going to need to take a look at Paragraph 6.C. in the One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale), which is the most common contract form when buying a home in San Antonio.
Paragraph 6.C. Survey
Paragraph 6.C. SURVEY: The survey must be made by a registered professional land surveyor acceptable to the Title Company and Buyer’s lender(s). (Check one box only)
(1) Within ___ days after the effective date of this contract, Seller shall furnish to Buyer and Title Company Seller’s existing survey of the Property and a Residential Real Property Affidavit promulgated by the Texas Department of Insurance (T-47 Affidavit). If Seller fails to furnish the existing survey or affidavit within the time prescribed, Buyer shall obtain a new survey at Seller’s expense no later than 3 days prior to Closing Date. If the existing survey or affidavit is not acceptable to Title Company or Buyer’s lender(s), Buyer shall obtain a new survey at Seller’s Buyer’s expense no later than 3 days prior to Closing Date.
(2) Within ___ days after the effective date of this contract, Buyer shall obtain a new survey at Buyer’s expense. Buyer is deemed to receive the survey on the date of actual receipt or the date specified in this paragraph, whichever is earlier.
(3) Within ___ days after the effective date of this contract, Seller, at Seller’s expense shall furnish a new survey to Buyer.
Checkboxes (2) and (3) do not apply to this conversation, as a T-47 is not required when using a new survey. The T-47 is only used when you check Paragraph 6.C.(1), which allows the seller to use an existing survey. The survey and T-47 must meet the requirements of the lender and the title company, but as long as they do that, an older survey may be used (typically the one provided to the seller when they originally bought the house). It is important to note the sentence in bold (it is in bold on the contract) – the seller has a specific amount of days (first blank line in the section) to deliver both the survey and the T-47 to the buyer. If the seller fails to do so, the buyer may order a new survey and the seller will be required to pay for it regardless of which box is checked later in the section. Those two checkboxes define who will pay for the survey in the event that the survey and T-47 are not accepted by the title company or lender.
The T-47 Affidavit
The first section of the T-47 Residential Real Property Affidavit form is for basic information: date, name, address, legal description of the property, and what county it is in. There is also a blank where the notary needs to fill in what state they are a notary in (we see this missed quite often).
The bulk of the T-47 is based in the six items that follow. Some require you to fill in some information. Let’s take a look at them separately…
1. We are the owners of the Property. (Or state other basis for knowledge by Affiant(s) of the Property, such as lease, management, neighbor, etc. For example, “Affiant is the manager of the Property for the record title owners.”):
If you are the owner of the property and filling out this form, you do not need to fill this section out. If you are acting on behalf of the property owner, you would need to explain who you are and your relationship to the property. There is an excellent example in the section, if you are the property manager, you would write “Affiant is the manager of the Property for the record title owners.”
2. We are familiar with the property and the improvements located on the Property.
3.We are closing a transaction requiring title insurance and the proposed insured owner or lender has requested area and boundary coverage in the title insurance policy(ies) to be issued in this transaction. We understand that the Title Company may make exceptions to the coverage of the title insurance as Title Company may deem appropriate. We understand that the owner of the property, if the current transaction is a sale, may request a similar amendment to the area and boundary coverage in the Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance upon payment of the promulgated premium.
By signing this form, you are affirming these two statements – first, that you are familiar with the property (and improvements) and second, that you are involved in a transaction with that property and that transaction involves area and boundary coverage in the title policy. Section 3 also goes on to further clarify exceptions and amendments to area and boundary coverage in the title policy. We’ll cover some of these in a future post, but you can read up on title policies to get a general overview.
4. To the best of our actual knowledge and belief, since ____________ there have been no:
a. construction projects such as new structures, additional buildings, rooms, garages, swimming pools or other permanent improvements or fixtures;
b. changes in the location of boundary fences or boundary walls;
c. construction projects on immediately adjoining property(ies) which encroach on the Property;
d. conveyances, replattings, easement grants and/or easement dedications (such as a utility line) by any party affecting the Property;
EXCEPT for the following (If None, Insert “None” Below:)
In Section 4 there are two important details that need to be filled in. The first blank requires a date. This date must match the date of the survey that is being used. A lot of sellers will enter the date they bought the house, but this is incorrect. The sellers, by using this form and the old survey, are affirming that to their knowledge, none of the items listed (a. through d.) have occurred. This includes knowledge that the (now) sellers would have obtained from the (former) sellers of the home when they bought it. This section states that no changes have been made (and gives specifics) to the property that would affect the survey and the boundaries set forth in it. If changes have been made, the last line allows you to state exactly what has been changed. They leave a rather large blank section for this and you should fill in any items that would apply. What applies? Look back to items a. through d. for guidance. If any of those things changed, you should state them here and be specific. If there have been no changes, the form states that you should write “None” in the space provided. We see this missed often as well.
5. We understand that Title Company is relying on the truthfulness of the statements made in this affidavit to provide the area and boundary coverage and upon the evidence of the existing real property survey of the Property. This Affidavit is not made for the benefit of any other parties and this Affidavit does not constitute a warranty or guarantee of the location of improvements.
6. We understand that we have no liability to Title Company that will issue the policy(ies) should the information in this Affidavit be incorrect other than information that we personally know to be incorrect and which we do not disclose to the Title Company.
More statements that you are affirming by signing this document in Section 5 and 6. The first, is acknowledging that the title company will rely on the statements contained on this form to be truthful and will compare it to the items on the survey. It also states it does not warranty or guarantee the location of the improvements to the property. The second, states that the seller understands that they have no liability to the title company if the information is incorrect unless they have failed to disclose something.
Wrapping up the form is the section for the notary. You’ll need to take this form to a notary and sign it in their presence. Once notarized, the T-47 should be delivered along with the survey within the time allowed in the contract. Many agents will upload these documents into the MLS to ensure that any agent representing a potential buyer can quickly pull them and deliver them to their client (although it should be noted that having the documents in the MLS does not constitute delivery and the listing agent should ensure that they are given to the buyer’s agent).
We hope that helps explain the T-47 Affidavit and give you a better understanding of its use and function. As always, if you have more questions, you should contact your agent, who can help explain the details of the forms in depth and apply them to your specific transaction and situation.
image courtesy of Metsu Design Studios (and credit to anyone who understands why we chose this photo)