What is a land surveyor, and what services does a land surveyors offer?
A Land Surveyor is a professional who uses applied mathematics and other technical and research skills to measure and plot:
- the dimensions of any portion of the earth’s surface (including natural and other structures)
- the lengths and directions of boundary lines
- the contour of the earth’s surface
Why Would I Need A Land Survey?
To find out the boundaries, or features of your land. To build, to develop, to satisfy local code or building requirements. To find out whether you have encroachments on your land or not. To find out where the land is that you own. Hopefully, you are not like many that are needing a Land Survey because they “have to”. This would be the case if they are disputing something with a neighbor, because one or both of them had gone on with building, developing, landscaping, fencing or using the land without knowing where the common boundary line is.
What Different Types Of Surveys Are There?
Lot Survey: This is a survey of a lot in a recorded subdivision. Corners should be marked in accordance with existing state standards, and the owner receives a drawing depicting what comers were set and what comers were found.
Boundary Survey: These surveys are normally described by Metes and Bounds and may require extensive research of adjoining deeds, original government surveys, highway plans, etc. A Boundary Survey usually requires field work on neighboring lands to verify or find existing monumentation. Because many deeds were prepared in an office and not actually surveyed, and others are just poorly written, it may require extra research and field work to determine the property lines. The comers should be marked in accordance with existing state standards, and the owner receives a drawing depicting what comers were set and what comers were found, and the relationship between deed lines and lines of possession.
Subdivision Survey: This type of survey divides existing parcels into smaller parcels. These types of surveys are required to be recorded at the county recorder’s office and must also meet all requirements of government agencies. State standards require a minimum of two permanent monuments per block.
Topographic Survey: Although these are generally performed by a Land Surveyor, other professionals, such as Engineers and Architects may also complete them. These types of surveys are graphic representations of physical features of the land depicting natural and man-made features, such as fences, buildings, utilities, hills, valleys streams, lakes, roads, etc. They can be performed by field ground methods or by aerial photographic methods. The preciseness of this type of survey depends on what it is to be used for. These surveys should be completed in conjunction with a ”Boundary Survey” (which can only be performed by a Professional Land Surveyor) to show lines of possession.
Plot Plan or Site Plan: This type of survey may be required by local authorities or you may require it to insure that a proposed house or structure is constructed in the proper location and not over an easement or building set back line. A drawing may be required showing the proposed building location.
Surveyors Real Property Report: This is a report on the location of improvements and a cursory check for encroachments onto or from the subject property based on existing evidence.
When must I employ a licensed land surveyor?
Generally, you will need the services of a land surveyor any time you need a government official’s approval of survey plans (e.g., the approval of a subdivision). A surveyor is also required to prepare boundary surveys for property conveyances when filed with public officials. These officials can only accept surveying plans stamped and signed by a land surveyor. Check with local government officials such as the county clerk’s office or the planning department to determine what you are required to submit.
How Long Does It Take To Do A Land Survey?
Often times when the need of a survey arises, time is of the essence. The land might be immediately sold, utilities may need to be installed, or a home may need to be sited. The Land Surveyor must perform certain tasks before he can ever begin to set the corners of your property.
First, the Warranty Deed needs to be received from you and the surveyor must research all available physical and non-physical information about your property. This usually includes acquiring the survey plats and warranty deeds of adjacent properties from the county surveyor, “tying in” existing fences and corners and calculating your corners locations based on Land Surveying Law and Standard Practices. This process can usually be completed in one or two days, with the corners being set on the third or fourth day. This assumes that the surveyors scheduling allows him to start on your survey immediately. Given your circumstances, the Land Surveyor will gladly estimate how long the survey should take.
How much will a survey cost?
The cost for most land surveying work is based on the following variables:
- Type of survey: Costs will increase as the required precision and scope of the survey increases.
- Record search: This varies by (a) the number of parcels involved; (b) the number of past transactions; (c) junior/ senior rights and (d) complexity of deed description.
- Size and shape of property: An irregularly shaped parcel has more corners to monument and lines to resolve than a rectangular parcel containing the same area.
- Sectionalized Survey Work (Rural tracts): This could require the survey of the entire section (640 acres +) in which the land being surveyed lies, regardless of the area of the parcel. In exceptional cases, a survey of more than one section is required.
- Terrain: A level parcel of land is easier to survey than a mountainous parcel.
- Vegetation: Branches, brush, and small trees must frequently be cleared to afford a line of sight for the surveyor. Shrubs, flowers, and trees on home sites are normally not disturbed, but may require additional field time to perform work around them.
- Accessibility: The time to perform the surveying work varies with the distance to, and the difficulty in reaching, the corners on the site.
- Amount of existing evidence on the property: Existing evidence such as iron, wood, or stone monuments, old fences and occupation lines and monumentation is a considerable aid to the Surveyor.
- Time of Year: In summer, foliage may present problems making traversing difficult. In winter, weather may slow travel to and on site.
- Title Company Requirements: Title companies may require considerably more documentation than is normally required by the average landowner.