Frequently Asked Questions:

Why should I have my property surveyed?

A survey performed by a professional land surveyor can identify potential problems or avoid future problems. Many landowners move into a place and do not know exactly where their boundaries are located. As neighbors move away, who built what and why becomes lost and structures like fences and trees become assumed lines that keep peace, usually, between neighbors, but may not be where the deed identifies the property line to be. Property lines are generally invisible and it may take a professional land surveyor with knowledge, expertise and experience to determine their original position.

What kind of survey do I need?

Topographic Survey : A topographic survey is performed to show contours, natural and man-made features of a tract of land. A topographic survey is generally done to provide architects and engineers with information necessary for preparation of design plans.

Boundary Survey : A boundary survey determines the locations of the lines and corners of a tract of land. These can range from simple to complex and sometimes can involve complicated title/ownership issues. In either case, a surveyor should provide a professional opinion as to where the parcel lines are using all available evidence and providing either a written survey report or map of the survey.

ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey : An ALTA/ACSM survey is usually performed at the request of a title company to provide the title company, lender and buyer with a boundary survey acceptable to the title insurance company for the purpose of insuring title. This survey must meet specific minimum standards as established by the American Land Title Association and the National Society of Professional Surveyors.

Mortgage Inspection Report : A mortgage inspection plat is an informal survey performed for the lender's benefit using information from the deed or plat, an onsite inspection and measurements to show property lines and all structures in their approximate location. A mortgage inspection is not a boundary survey or to be used as one.

How much does a survey cost?

Prices for land surveys are based on a variety of factors, including:
  • Size
  • Location
  • Existence of previous surveys
  • Quality and availability of existing records
  • Markers and monuments in the field
  • Date the land was partitioned
  • Topography
  • Presence of obstacles such as vegetation, fences, building, creeks, and ponds

Common Surveying Myths:

Neighbors rarely encroach over property line. - Encroachments and land disputes are a lot more common than you think. As land value increases there are more concerns regarding where property lines really are.

I don't need a survey to build a fence/wall along my property line. - Protect your investment. Make sure you know where the property line is. It's a lot less expensive to have your line surveyed properly than to have to move a fence or wall later. And your neighbors will be a lot happier if they don't have to fight to have a fence moved off their property.

Surely my surveyor will agree with me, I'm paying him! - You pay a land surveyor to correctly determine where the property lines are, not where you think they are. Surveyors have the responsibility of protecting the interests of the public, including surrounding land owners affected by our work.

I can build on my property without a survey. - You want to be sure you understand where your property lines are and what easements and right of ways may apply. Most cities will require you to have a survey before you can build or add on to an existing building.

I only need one line surveyed. - Except in limited circumstances, it is not possible to verify the accurate location of a single property line. It is generally necessary to locate multiple monuments to verify locations.

My land has already been surveyed so I don’t need another one. - There is no guarantee that a previous survey is still accurate. Over time structures may have been added or removed, easements could have been added and new regulations may impact the survey. Technological advancements and new information may change the results, too. Also, surveyors do sometimes make mistakes.