You’ve probably seen a land surveyor on a property peeking through a strange-looking device (theodolite) that’s rested on a tripod. If you’re like the average Joe, only one thought crossed through your mind, “What exactly is this person doing under this scorching sun?”.
A land surveyor makes use of special equipment to conduct measurements and evaluations of sites for private, public and government properties. These measurements involve determining the terrestrial or 3-dimensional positions of points and distances, as well as the angles between them.
Their evaluation helps to establish points on maps that are used to determine boundaries for ownership, location and more. Here are 7 things you must know about land surveying:
#1 Land Surveying is More Useful Than You Think.
When most people think of land surveying, they instinctively link it with some type of remodeling. However, there are several other instances where land surveying might be required. Some of which include:
- Purchasing a new home.
While the construction process doesn’t require a survey, mortgage lenders mostly do. This is to ensure that the property is within its legal boundaries, eliminating the risk of potential encroachment problems in the future.
- Settling a dispute
Neighbors sometimes disagree over encroaching property fixtures (like a fence or building). A land survey can help establish the facts. It also has a legal holding in court.
- Home Addition
Before adding a storage shed or a new room, it’s important to make sure that it does not exceed your property lines to avoid legal troubles. A land survey can help with that.
#2 Although You’re Paying, You Don’t Dictate the Process.
The only job of a land surveyor is to determine the fact as dictated by history, science and math. Whether you want to build an extra foot as an addition to your home is none of their business. So, do not expect them to produce a survey in your favor.
After they determine the precise measurement of your property, they send it to the county recorder’s office. This means your survey becomes a public record.
Surveyors are held liable for mistakes in the surveys they produce and could be sued for them. That’s why they’re only concerned about getting their job done accurately.
#3 It’s Not an Easy Job
Land surveying is more than staying under the sun while looking through a theodolite — which by the way, isn’t your ideal working condition. Land surveyors also manage the historical and legal implications of their work.
If you’re wondering why land surveying is expensive, the amount of work they do makes it worth it. That’s why you also have to be certain that you need a land survey before you spend hundreds of dollars to get it done.
#4 There are Different Kinds of Land Surveyors
Land surveying is a broad profession with different specializations. Here are some of the processes of the most common types of land surveyors;
- Construction/ Engineering
Often used by civil engineers, these types of surveyors study the changes in property lines. They also determine the precise location of buildings, roads, and other fixtures.
Geodetic surveyors employ satellite and aerial imaging to measure large areas on earth.
- Boundary or land
Their primary duty is to determine the location of property lines with pinpoint accuracy. If you’re planning to purchase a property and you want to determine how far it extends or you want to build an addition to your property, this is the kind of surveyor you require.
#5 There are Different Types of Land Surveying
Just as there are different kinds of surveyors, there are also different kinds of surveying. The type you’ll go for is dependent on what your needs are. Some types include:
- ALTA (American Land Title Association) Survey
It is carried when purchasing a home or property as it is required by a title company before issuing title insurance. Some mortgage lenders may also require one before providing loans.
- Boundary Survey
It’s used to determine the boundary of a property. It is also used to resolve legal disputes, easements, and other land-related issues.
- Location Survey
It is used to determine the precise location of property fixtures.
Other types include subdivision surveys, site-planning surveys, construction surveys, and topographic surveys.
#6 Your Phone GPS Can’t Do the Job
We get it, you’re using a GPS enabled device, and you’re a huge fan of DIY. Well, land surveying is not a task you can accomplish with the DIY approach.
Your smartphone’s GPS is accurate to about 15 feet. Contrast that with land surveying professional-grade GPS systems that are precise to the centimeter (Well, that’s why they cost thousands of dollars).
Using your phone to determine property lines will set you up for legal troubles in the future. That’s why you have to bear in mind that anything you get from it is only a “rough check.”
#7 A Land Survey is Good For a Decade
Once you complete your survey, it’s considered valid for the next 10 years. But why 10? According to the law, this is the duration in which the surveyor will be considered liable for the survey.
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