What is a Land Survey?

A land survey is performed for the purpose of locating, describing, monumenting and mapping the boundaries and corners of a parcel of land. It may also include mapping of the topography of the parcel, and the location of buildings or other improvements upon the parcel.

What is a boundary?

A boundary is any natural or artificial separation marking the border of two adjacent properties. A natural boundary is one existing in nature, such as a river; while an artificial boundary is one created by written conveyance such as the Public Land Survey System, Subdivisions or Deeds.

How are boundaries created?

Most boundaries are created by written documents (such as warranty or quit claim deeds) that contain specific descriptions. Property rights may also be established by unwritten means such as long time physical occupation of land. A Professional Land Surveyor will research these factors and how they affect the boundaries of your property.

When should I have my land surveyed?

  • Before you purchase it. This will disclose the relationship between the lines of possession and the deeded property lines
  • A lending institution may require either a Land Survey Plat or an Improvement
  • Location Certificate of your property when you borrow money on it
  • Whenever you believe there may be a conflict of use on your property
  • Prior to dividing any parcel of land for sale
  • The county or city that your property is located in may require a Land Survey prior to the construction of any structure or improvement on the property
  • When you intend to sell any tract of land
  • When your lawyer, architect, real estate agent or municipal planning or engineering office advises or requires it

How do I authorize a land survey?

Explain why you want the survey. The surveyor can then advise you as to what standards and type of survey is required. You should furnish the Professional Land Surveyor with a description of the property along with all other information or documents that you may have regarding the parcel. These would include abstracts of title, title reports, previous survey reports and maps, and the location of any corner monuments. The Professional Land Surveyor may request a retainer and written authorization to proceed prior to conducting the survey.

How much will a survey cost?

The Professional Land Surveyor’s fees will be based on the anticipated difficulty and time required to complete the project. Routine survey projects may be estimated as to cost, but the client should be aware that in many situations, the Professional Land Surveyor cannot predict the amount of work that will be required to recover necessary monuments, restore lost or obliterated corners, research city and county records, collect field data, complete mathematical calculations, and prepare descriptions and maps of the property. All of this must be combined and analyzed to establish the location of property corners and create the final map.

One of the most uncertain and costly parts of the survey is the recovery of various types of monuments. It is important for land owners, contractors and the general public to be aware that the careless treatment and destruction of survey monuments adds time and cost to subsequent surveys. Competitive bidding for the lowest price does not necessarily protect the interests of the client, the public or the Professional Land Surveyor. The competency, reputation, education and experience of several surveyors should be considered