·What is a survey?
 ·When do I order a survey?
 ·What determines the price of a survey?
 ·How do I choose a Surveyor?
 ·Should I record the survey?


What is a survey?
The purchase of your home or other real estate may be the largest investment of your life. Having a survey done before you complete the purchase of real property may help avoid boundary line problems in the future. A casual inspection of your property will not be sufficient to determine its boundaries and assure that all buildings, fences and other improvements on both your and your neighbor's land are properly located. If you purchase or improve your property without an accurate survey, you may find that, possession lines are not coincident with the title lines. In the event conflicts are discovered as shown on the survey, early legal advice should be sought to resolve such conflicts in order to prevent future problems.

The private land owner and/or purchaser should utilize the services of a registered professional land surveyor before the property is conveyed to obtain a boundary survey of the real property.

A boundary survey is the measurement by a professional land surveyor of the record title lines to identify the boundaries of a parcel of land. A survey for land title purposes also shows the location of all visible evidence of improvements, encroachments, protrusions and visible easements.

In addition, the surveyor will verify or re-set the land corners of the real property you are about to purchase.

To comply with the statuary requirements, the survey prepared for your transaction must contain all of the following:

  • Date, Seal and Signature of a Registered Professional
    Land Surveyor
  • Description of the property corners, recovered and set
  • Visible matters which may affect your title to the real property
  • A legal description of the property

Remember, the statement, "It's just a survey" can cost you money.

Should it be required, A.L.T.A. (American Land Title Association) and A.C.S.M. (American Congress on Surveying and Mapping) have established minimum standards for surveying services and the ocation of the improvements on real property. This ALTA-ACSM Standard generally applies to commercial properties.

The final cost of your survey depends on the location, size, kind of survey and the difficulties encountered.

When do I order a survey?
Prior to purchasing land to insure what you are buying; prior to installing fences, building a house or other types of construction; prior to dividing land into smaller parcels; when your selling a parcel of land not previously surveyed; to verify acreage for tax assessment; and when you believe someone is encroaching on your land.

What determines the price of a survey?
Fees for land surveys vary depending upon the scope of work performed. Other variables that may determine the price are the type of survey required, land/terrain conditions, the surveyor's knowledge of the area, the availability of land, record information, and existing monuments, and the liability incurred by the Surveyor.

How do I choose a Surveyor?
The choice of a surveyor is much like retaining an attorney or choosing a doctor. Take into consideration the reputation and experience of qualified candidates along with availability, timing constraints and fees.

Should I record the survey?
You may wish to record the map of your lot or boundary survey though it is not required. All subdivision plats and surveys that create a new parcel of land must be recorded.