Glad you asked!
A survey certificate is a document (like an RPR in Alberta) that shows where the building(s) is located on a property, property boundary lines, the building footprint will also be within those lines.
Buyers should ask the seller if they have a survey certificate, and if so, confirm in the purchase agreement that the seller will provide this to the buyer prior to the sale closing. A professional surveyor will be required to obtain a survey.
It is recommended that a buyer obtain a survey certificate from the seller if possible when purchasing a house. This confirms for the buyer that the property meets all the requirements, neighbourhood restrictions, boundary lines and use of proper setbacks. This also ensures and that there are no buildings or structures located over restricted areas and clearly shows restrictive covenants and boundary lines.
In a hot market, often buyer's and seller's do not have time to have a survey completed if one does not exist already due to quick transaction times but this document is very important. Sellers that already have a Servey Certificate will usually provide it to the new buyer as they will have no use for it once the homes is sold.
A buyer may be able to avoid obtaining title insurance if a survey is completed or if a seller can provide a previously completed survey with a sworn statement that the buildings have not changed location since the survey was completed.