Before Hiring a Surveying Firm for your Next Project

Professional Land Surveyors are the only people trained and licensed to make property line determinations.

Many people assume telephone poles, fences, or cracks in the sidewalk are the property corners when in reality they most likely are not.

Dividing one land parcel into two or more parcels can be a lengthy process, and every municipality has its own guidelines, size requirements and process for dividing land.

Things You need to know before Hiring a Surveying Firm for your next Project

Contact a local Professional Land Surveyor to help you through what process is needed and what time constraints you may have. The process could be lengthy even for something as simple as wanting to split off one small piece of the farm for your child to build on.

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.

What can a Professional Land Surveyor do for me?

  • Review your deed along with other evidence and render a professional opinion
    as to the locations and conflicts of the boundaries of your land.
  • Set monuments at your property corners and mark them so they can be easily found and identified.
  • Keep an accurate record of all services performed and measurements obtained.
  • Identify and advise you of any apparent defect in your land description or evidence of conflict of ownership and/or use.
  • Prepare a plat or map of your property indicating boundary measurements, the
    monuments found and placed, and the calculated area.
  • Provide the client with copies of these maps bearing the Professional Land Surveyor’s signature and seal. Copies of these maps will also be filed in either the County Records where the land is located or a State Repository. This will ensure that the plat or map is available for public inspection.

How does a survey work?

  1. Your Surveyor will most likely start the work on your survey before you see them at the site. They first must do any necessary research to determine your parcel and the adjoiners’ parcels to verify that there are no overlaps or gaps in the properties. This will help them set up information for the field work to be conducted on the project.
  2. Next the Surveyor will do the field survey, and if all goes well, they may set any missing corner irons or other mark – such as drill holes, a disk, a concrete monument – on their first trip out. If things are not exactly where they are expecting, they may have to return to the office and do some calculations before returning to set any missing corners.
  3. The Land Surveyor’s last step is drawing the final map and presenting it to you.

How do I hire a Surveyor?

  • Ask for references from family and friends
  • Check with local and state Professional Land Surveyors organizations; many of them have a public list of their members.
  • Ask at the office of your local municipality. Many have lists of Professional Land
    Surveyors that work in their area.
  • When you call a Land Surveyor, it will expedite the process to have information
    on your property ready, including any previous surveys, tax bill information, owner’s name, and the address of the property.
  • The Land Surveyor needs to know the purpose for the survey before any work is begun. If you want special features shown on the final map, you should discuss this with the Land Surveyor. If you are in a dispute with a neighbor over the location of a property line, the Land Surveyor will be aware that they may need to take a little time to talk with a neighbor to explain what is being done as part of the survey. In many states, Surveyors do not have a “right of entry” and may need the time to introduce themselves to neighbors. And, some “right of entry” laws may require that the Surveyor send letters to neighbors and law enforcement agencies ahead of time.
  • If you want a map drawn of all the features of your property, make the Land
    Surveyor aware of that before he or she goes into the field. In many areas, it may
    not be required to show buildings and improvements as part of a basic survey.

Request a survey here.

Learn more about Schemmer's survey services here.

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