Are you considering having a land survey done on your property? Should you obtain a survey on your property? There are many survey related misconceptions that can steer you the wrong way.

Land surveys aren’t necessary if you can find the survey marks or stakes? Only a licensed land surveyor can determine land boundaries. If you find the survey or marks from a previous survey, all you know is that there was a previous surveyor who determined that this is a boundary location and furthermore you have no idea if they have been disturbed in some way. The land surveyor you hire can tell you if what you’ve found is really your property line and you may be surprised to learn that in many cases, what you think is a surveying monument may not be one at all. It is always in the best interest of a landowner to have their property surveyed!

It’s very rare for a neighbor to encroach over a property line? Don’t be so sure that you aren’t encroaching onto property that legally belongs to your neighbor, or that they aren’t technically on your property. Land surveyors see these types of issues all of the time. Hiring a land surveyor to mark the exact property line and prepare a plat is a good investment in your property. Once again many things can change on any given parcel of real estate and it is best to have knowledge of any surveying related issues.

I can build my fence on the property line without a survey? Even when you’re sure you’re building only on your land, protect your investment by making sure that you know exactly where the property lines are. If it turns out that you have built onto a neighboring property, you may be forced to tear down your work. Think twice before building a fence right on the property line, even if you know right where it is. Can you maintain the other side without trespassing on your neighbor’s property? Will the footings encroach on their land?

The fence has to be my property line, it’s been there a hundred years? Fences, especially those built decades ago, are only an approximation of where the property line is or was thought to be. Even if that fence has been used for decades, that doesn’t automatically make it the property line. Adverse possession is a complicated legal issue that is usually only settled through litigation therefore it is always best to know where fences are located in relation to property boundaries.

All land has already been surveyed, it’s just a matter of finding the survey. Although you may be ale to find old maps created for tax purposes, in many cases the land you own may have never been surveyed. Even if you do find a previous survey from decades ago, it may not always help solve your issue or assist you in identifying the actual property lines on the ground, especially if the surveyor’s monuments are long gone. Many people do not realize that it is generally a copyright infringement to use a plat of land survey that was not prepared specifically for you and your real estate transaction!

Do I really need a survey if the land was surveyed years ago? – Many things can change over the years such as additions, demolitions, boundary changes, zoning changes and alterations to name a few. These things can happen on adjacent property and affect surrounding properties also. Land surveying is an art, not an exact science. It is possible for two surveyors to obtain different results. Also, the measurements are made based on the evidence found; surveyors working at different points in time may not have the same evidence available. The new surveyor will have the benefit of the monuments set by the previous surveyor, if they are still in existence, as well as any records recorded after the previous survey. If the previous survey’s results are being questioned, it may be worth it to have another survey done.

Should you spare the expense of having a survey done? Not having a survey done when you really need one can cost you thousands of dollars. Is it worth the risk? In most real estate transactions the cost of a land survey is minimal in comparison to the cost of the entire transaction! This professional service is well worth the cost!