How to Get a Property Survey

What Is a Property Survey?

There are a number of forms of property surveys, however the varieties people are most probably to wish are:

  • A boundary survey: This determines the perimeter of a property to determine precisely how a lot land is included inside it and to make sure the title is correct. It might additionally determine whether or not any neighboring properties have encroached upon the property in addition to any easements, or areas the place entry to the property is shared by others. For instance, should you’re shopping for a home close to a seashore, there could also be an easement permitting the general public to cross a part of your property to achieve the seashore.
  • An ALTA/ACSM survey: Additionally referred to as a mortgage survey or Prolonged Title Insurance coverage Protection Survey, this can be required by your mortgage lender or title insurance coverage firm. It determines property traces, identifies any utilities on the property and notes enhancements (comparable to outbuildings, garages or fences). ALTA/ACSM surveys adjust to necessities of the American Land Title Affiliation and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.
  • An elevation or floodplain survey: This exhibits the assorted elevations of the land to disclose how nice the danger of flooding is.
  • A topographic survey: This sort of survey identifies not solely boundaries and man-made options of the land, comparable to buildings, but in addition pure options comparable to elevation, streams, lakes or hills.

For a further price, you may embody boundary staking, which has surveyors put markers—usually concrete pillars or rebar—on the corners of the property and alongside property traces.

The price of a property survey is determined by:

  • The kind of property survey.
  • The scale, form and terrain of the property. As an illustration, surveying acres of undeveloped mountain land with vague boundaries prices greater than surveying a suburban residence with a small fenced lot.
  • The quantity of analysis that is required to seek out earlier property surveys, titles and different information concerning the property.
  • Journey time, because of the truth that surveyors cost extra for driving lengthy distances.

The common price of a property survey within the U.S. is $504, in keeping with home-owner providers firm HomeAdvisor, with the fee to survey a one-fifth-acre lot (the common U.S. residence property dimension) starting from $400 to $700.

Prices additionally differ by location. Angi, one other home-owner providers firm, estimates common prices for a property survey as follows:

  • New York: $380 to $900
  • South Carolina: $250 to $600
  • Texas: $200 to $550
  • Oregon: $375 to $1,500
  • Illinois: $350 to $700


Lastly, the Fieldwork

Now you may start your scavenger hunt.

The 1st step: All the time begin from a identified level. It should be one thing you may completely match with the written document. It might be a marker in your boundary, if somebody has already made a optimistic ID of it. Extra probably, it will likely be a highway crossing, a bit nook, or perhaps a neighbor’s marker (garnered from that plat you unearthed within the public information). Don’t belief ditch traces or fence corners, until the document mentions them.

Step two: Measure off the course, path, and distance precisely because the deed says. Flag the road along with your ribbons as you go. Guarantee that your flags all line up straight and in the suitable path. (Your assistant is usually a nice assist right here.) Be careful for any iron or metal objects or something carrying electrical present when you stroll — they will entice the compass needle and throw your readings off. For those who come to a big obstruction, you may measure a line precisely parallel to your boundary line for a brief distance till you get by the impediment.

Surveys always measure distance on a horizontal pl

Surveys at all times measure distance on a horizontal aircraft, not alongside the bottom slope. Except you have got a calculator that’s nicely versed in trigonometry (for equating slope distance to horizontal), you, too, should measure on the extent. To take action, everytime you’re traversing hilly land, you and your assistant want to carry your tape (or a measured size of string) alongside your directional line and precisely degree (use your degree to find out this). Then, let your plumb bob grasp vertically down from the tape (or string) finish to find out the place on the bottom that horizontally measured distance falls. Repeat as wanted to precisely measure throughout rises and dips.

Step three: Once you’ve traveled the full di

Step three: When you’ve traveled the total distance in a single path, seek for the boundary marker. That is at all times my favourite half. Will you understand it whenever you see it? For those who’re fortunate, your plat or deed will point out how the surveyor marked corners. If not, you’re in for some Sherlock Holmes-style detective work.

You are looking for some object artificially place

You might be searching for some object artificially positioned in a sure spot. What sort of object? In case your paperwork omit point out of the markers, search for a date of survey, a clue to the kind of marker used. These days, surveyors use well-anchored pipes or metal rods, capped with brass, aluminum, or plastic, embossed with the surveyor’s registration quantity. However years in the past, they used something helpful. That included railroad spikes, picket stakes, even damaged glass (normally from a handy whiskey bottle).

If you know you’re seeking a buried pin, you

If you understand you’re searching for a buried pin, you should utilize your compass as a metallic detector. Stand so the compass needle is pointing due north, then flip the compass vertical — so the needle factors up. Preserve dealing with north and transfer the compass backwards and forwards over the approximate pin location, holding it a few half-inch to an inch off the bottom. If the needle spins downward and factors to the bottom — dig.

The general public land surveyors typically spent months or years on the frontier, and couldn’t afford to hold round a load of markers. Thus the identification of their monuments diversified extensively. Within the prairie, they crammed pits with charcoal. Within the mountains, the place they spent most of their time hacking brush, they merely left an etched stone buried on the part nook. They might use witness timber of their notes to relocate the marker via triangulation.

Bear in mind, markers don’t final endlessly. Wood stakes could final lower than 10 years. A “10 inch pine” in historic notes could also be a 20-inch pine as we speak — or a rotting stump.

Step 4: Proceed to the subsequent level. Don’t surrender in case your search has to this point confirmed fruitless. The following nook could lie in plain sight. And that’s a bonus, as a result of the extra corners you discover, the better your probabilities of discovering the remaining ones. You’ll know what you’re searching for and have the ability to zero in on it from two sides.

One potential monkey wrench which may be throwing you oft: Your deed bearings is probably not written by way of magnetic north (a compass truly factors to a “false North Pole”). They might be written in true north (referring to the actual North Pole) and even in grid north (referring to a man-made regional customary that makes use of parallel “north-south” traces). Then too, even magnetic north shifts some over time. So in case your bearing readings appear to be inflicting you hassle, take a compass studying between two identified factors of your deed or plat, and examine that to the recorded bearing. If there’s a major distinction, regulate all of your bearing readings as wanted to compensate.

Step 5: Protect the markers you discover, however DO NOT MOVE THEM. They’re thought of authorized boundaries solely so long as they continue to be precisely the place they’re. You can not transfer them to the place you suppose they must be. Solely a licensed surveyor can do this. The distinction between you and a surveyor (moreover $400 a day) is that solely that particular person can set up property traces and testify in courtroom on their whereabouts. If there are critical authorized issues along with your boundary, you’ll need a surveyor.

Do-it-yourself surveying can stave off disputes along with your neighbors.

How a lot does a property survey price?

The associated fee is determined by what kind of survey you want and the property’s dimension, location and historical past. A easy property boundary survey can price anyplace from $100 to $600, whereas a mortgage survey prices a mean of $500, in keeping with data from HomeAdvisor. The extra complicated a property’s options and information historical past, the extra you’ll probably pay for a surveyor’s time.

For those who’re shopping for a house and wish a survey to determine property traces or decide whether or not a property is in a floodplain, or should you’re required to supply the doc to your lender, you’ll need to pay for the survey.

Find Hidden Property Pins

Survey pins are skinny iron bars, 2 or 3 toes lengthy and generally capped with plastic, which the unique survey crew inserted on the property traces. If in case you have entry to a metal detector, transfer the machine over the bottom alongside the sidewalk to the curb to find the survey pin. Pins could also be buried just below the floor, or as much as a foot beneath. A number of days earlier than you dig, nevertheless, you have to name 811, the free, federally designated quantity that may route you to your native utility firm. Ask the utility firm to come back out and mark any buried traces so that you don’t unintentionally hit one. There’s no cost for this service, however should you injury a buried utility line, you can find yourself having to pay to restore it.


Property Survey Sorts

As a result of there are lots of completely different causes for having a survey, there’s a couple of kind of survey, together with:

  • Land surveys to examine the boundaries of quite a bit;
  • Monumentation surveys for individuals who need to assemble a fence on their boundary;
  • Mortgage surveys to indicate the boundaries of the entire property that will probably be mortgaged;
  • Topographic surveys to indicate the elevation of the land;
  • Floodplain surveys, which set up flood danger areas.

Due to this fact, whenever you want a survey, be clear in your causes for it. This can let you higher estimate the price of your survey whenever you contact a surveyor.

Remaining Ideas

Earlier than constructing a brand new construction or putting in a driveway, it’s very important to have an expert come out and mark the property traces. Property pins will be moved through the years, and in some instances, the boundary could prolong previous a property boundary marker if a earlier proprietor purchased or offered land to a neighbor. In a finest case situation, you might have extra land than you thought you probably did. In a worst case situation, you might have poured the driveway on the neighbors’ land, they usually could make you tear it out.

How A lot Does a Survey Usually Price?

Various kinds of surveys have completely different value factors, however the dimension of the house additionally elements into the general price. Moreover, the situation and the historical past of the property can even change the property surveyor’s prices. For instance, a simple survey to find out the boundaries of the lot can price as little as $100 to greater than $600.

Likewise, a mortgage survey — which the borrower can pay and never the lender — will run round $500. And, it doesn’t matter what kind of survey you want on your property, the fee will go up because the complexity of the property will increase for the surveyor.

The right way to Legally Decide Property Traces

Rent a Licensed Land Surveyor

To get an correct dedication of property traces that may stand as much as authorized scrutiny, you’ll want to rent an expert surveyor. (Notice that almost all states require licensure of land surveyors; examine your state’s necessities.)

Whereas an expert survey could price a a number of to a number of hundred {dollars}—or extra, relying on property location, dimension, form, and terrain—it’s cash nicely spent since property disputes price much more in time, potential hefty authorized charges, and neighborly goodwill.

How To Get A Property Survey

Now that you simply perceive the advantages of property surveys, you’re in all probability questioning how one can get probably the most exact thought of your property’s authorized boundaries. There are a number of methods to go about getting a property survey.

Rent A Land Surveyor

Fortunately for grazing deer and hungry rabbits, not each plot of land is clearly outlined and enclosed by a white picket fence. As land shifts over time, some preliminary property line markers could now not exist. If in case you have any questions on property traces, the most secure factor to do is rent a land surveyor.

An expert land surveyor is an knowledgeable in defining property traces. They use their expertise, training and specialised subject gear to create legally binding property surveys. They’ll even function knowledgeable witnesses in courtroom instances about land disputes. (Bear in mind after we talked about encroachments earlier?)

Throughout the property survey, a land surveyor will examine historic information and knowledge with any current markers to precisely outline your property traces – and their findings are legally binding. This course of takes time, effort and boots-on-the-ground legwork, so hiring a well-respected and well-reviewed land surveyor earlier than buying land or starting any new residence expansions is your finest guess to keep away from any authorized points sooner or later. Name round for quotes earlier than you determine, and be cautious of any too-good-to-be-true low estimates.

Test The Property Deed

A number of completely different types of deeds are utilized in actual property. A property deed is a written authorized doc that transfers possession of a property from the grantor to the grantee. (To not be confused with a title, which is the precise doc that states who legally owns the property.) This sort of deed can have a number of items of necessary details about the property: correct proprietor names, precise handle, tax map quantity, authorized description, restrictions, and different data like circumstances of the switch and reservations of rights by a previous proprietor. Whereas some deeds solely reference quite a bit or block quantity, many embody detailed measurements within the type of – yep, you guessed it – a property survey carried out by a land surveyor.

Search Property Survey Information

Whereas there isn’t any nationwide archive of actual property information, many states require property surveys to be filed with the native authorities. You possibly can seek for property surveys by visiting the courthouse, property or assessor’s workplace the place your new land is positioned. You’ll need to manually examine transfers, necessities and restrictions on the property. This avenue will be time-consuming, but it surely’s a free to low-cost strategy to empower your self with the data and historical past of your new property’s authorized boundaries.

Discover A Property Survey On-line

Can’t make it to the courthouse? No worries, many native governments maintain property information on-line. To seek for your piece of land, you’ll want particular particulars concerning the property you need to search for. Collect as a lot data as you may, like the road handle, boundary descriptions and date of the final survey, and search the official county or assessor’s web site the place the property is positioned.

The extra data you have got, the simpler it will likely be so that you can discover the survey you want. Not all information will probably be digitized, however the outcomes of your search could provide help to slender down the precise workplace the place your survey is positioned. You possibly can then name the workplace and ask if they will mail you a duplicate of the survey.

Geographical Data System (GIS) maps and property search websites are a greater possibility when you have restricted data in your property. Nonetheless, these websites typically cost a price or require a subscription.

Contact The Earlier Surveyor

Land surveyors maintain copies of the property surveys they full. (Legally, the survey belongs to them.) If you understand the identify and speak to data of the earlier land surveyor, strive reaching out. It’s very probably that, for a price, they will ship you a duplicate. Land surveys normally final 5 to 10 years after they’re accomplished, so if the earlier survey was carried out a very long time in the past, it’s in all probability a good suggestion to get a brand new one carried out even should you find the official doc.

Why a Property Survey is Essential

It might not look like a giant deal for some, however finishing your due diligence relating to the property survey can prevent from making a really pricey mistake, like constructing your house on another person’s land.

Bonnie and Kim Bowman did simply that. A number of years in the past, daughter and mom Bowman bought a plot of land within the small city of Stockton, Utah. They constructed a house, the place they’re now residing. The one downside is, the house they constructed wasn’t on the property they purchased. Lamar Penovich owns the property the place their residence resides.

KUTV’s Get Gephardt investigated the situation. Apparently, Bonnie and Kim had been proven the wrong lot by their actual property agent, and agreed to purchase the vacant land. When the ultimate deed was accomplished, the one factor that recognized the land was a Tax ID quantity, which confirmed which plot of land was which on a plot map on the county recorder’s workplace. The Tax ID corresponded to a plot of land that was down the road from the land they had been proven and thought they had been shopping for.

Then, the actual hassle begins. The Bowman’s employed a building firm, who utilized for a constructing allow on Lamar’s land. The allow was issued, and the Bowman’s residence was constructed. In accordance with Gephardt, town lawyer says that it is not town’s accountability to verify the particular person constructing the house owns the land.

Sadly for the Bowmans and Penovichs, there’s not straightforward strategy to get out of this mess. It is going to most probably find yourself in a courtroom.

Chances are you’ll suppose this can be a as soon as in a lifetime incidence, however sadly it has occurred greater than as soon as. For instance, a Rhode Island developer Four Twenty attempted to sell a 1.8 million-dollar-home in 2011. When the potential patrons employed their very own property survey of the land, they came upon that the house had been constructed on the land of a public park. The builders had been ordered by the RI Supreme Courtroom to take away the house to a chunk of property the builders truly owned.

Fortunately, the potential patrons employed a property surveyor and had been capable of level out the problem (and never buy the problematic residence!) That due diligence saved them from shopping for a really pricey mistake.

One other couple in Florida employed a building firm to construct a $680,000 dream residence on some property that they had bought. Keystone Homes, the construction company blamed the property survey being accomplished on the flawed lot; quite a bit which was owned by a North Carolina couple since 2003.


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