Are you looking to purchase land in the near future, or have you just bought land and wondering where to start to make sure you are following all the right steps? If so, one of your very first items to add to the very top of your list is having your land surveyed.
Often, those selling land will have the coordinates from the county’s Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping system and can provide the coordinates from there. You can then find the lines of your property through your favorite navigation system such as Google Maps, Waze, MapQuest, etc.
However, these mapping systems are likely not precisely correct. The only way to ensure that you are on your property is to hire a surveyor to come out and give you a concrete answer as to where your property lines lie.
So let’s talk more specifically about land surveyors and good reasons to have your land surveyed.
What Is A Land Survey?
First let’s talk about what a survey actually is.
You can generally have your land surveyed at any time. It is not always required unless you are building/constructing something. Sometimes your mortgage company may require one to confirm they are giving you an adequate loan for your property.
Surveyors do everything from researching the title for discrepancies in ownership to looking into the history of the legal description of your property all before even setting foot on your property for the fieldwork.
The fieldwork consists of checking the elements, mapping the legal boundaries, sketching out the property, and providing you with a detailed description of your property overall. The purpose of the surveyor is to determine every aspect of your property so you have concrete information about what and where things can be done on your property.
Determining Exact Boundary Lines
If you are building on your property, it is absolutely dire to have your land surveyed. Can you imagine the money it would take if you began to build and you had actually built partially on a neighboring property? That neighbor could likely force you to remove whatever lies upon their property and that will be very costly. In comparison, a surveyor on average costs around $500. A small price to pay to avoid the repercussions of moving ahead with major plans to your property without one.
This is also true for fencing as well. You don’t want to spend your precious time building a great fence to surround your property, only to be forced to tear it down due to being even a couple of feet onto a neighboring property
Unknown Utility Lines
Of course you will know the utilities lines that exist above ground on your property. You will also know of major improvements such as a well, septic, water lines, etc. However, occasionally there may be utility lines, cables, or drains underground that you are unaware of.
This is another item a surveyor can bring to your attention. Certain underground wiring can be very important to know about. For example, they may be able to dictate how tall your trees grow in order to do any maintenance work for their lines.
You don’t want to be responsible for causing any problems with utility companies or municipal organizations by doing any type of ground work that could disrupt what could be a large sum of money to repair.
Another great reason to survey your property is to check if there were ever any easements granted in the title report of other past agreements. So let’s say at some point the neighboring property was granted permission to use your driveway to access the road or a nearby wooded area. Then that neighbor could walk across your property or drive through your driveway or anything else that was listed within the easement agreement.
While that may have been no big deal to a previous owner, it may be a pain for you. To ensure you aren’t surprised by anything of that sort, a surveyor can let you know of any of the agreements or easements granted as far back as the title goes.
They Are Bound To A Very Strict High Authority
Surveyors absolutely have to be as precise and objective as possible. Their job is to use their math, science, and engineering skills to find out every aspect of the property. Their research and fieldwork becomes a matter of public record and if there are any discrepancies, no matter how long it’s been since they surveyed the property, they can be held liable. So you can feel secure that they are holding their job and the facts to a very high regard and work diligently to give you accurate information.
Always be sure before hiring a surveyor you get a few quotes. Don’t just go with the first person you talk with. If you used a realtor for the property, they may be a good place to start for a referral. If you have an attorney, they may be a good source to turn to as well.
If you are looking on your own, compare the quotes to make sure you are getting a fair deal.
If you want the peace of mind knowing that everything you want to do on your property is free and clear of any encumbrances, a surveyor is the way to go. You will be glad you were safe rather than sorry!