What is a Land Surveyor?
A land surveyor, in the simplest terms, is someone who defines the boundaries of land.
Why do a land survey?
A land survey is commonly used to determine the boundaries and features of properties, to determine easements and encroachments, to develop or build on land and to satisfy local building codes and regulations. A land survey can save you a lot of hassle and cost in the future.
Property line disputes among neighbors are a common reason for land surveys, as are property sales and purchase contractual agreements.
If you are a homeowner that is going to build a fence, garage, patio, pool, etc., a land survey is recommended. Most problems arise when improvements done to the property such as patios, pools, driveways, garages and building extensions are either outside the building limits or encroach into the neighboring property.
The American Land Title Association, the National Society of Professional Surveyors and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping regulate land surveying in the US and determine the specific criteria for land surveying. In addition, the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying oversees surveying in Texas.
When should you do a survey?
A boundary survey is not always required. If you are the buyer, it is to your benefit to know exactly how much land you are paying for. Land surveyors sometimes find defects that could lead to renegotiating the price of the property you are buying. A fence that divides a property from a neighbor may not be built along the boundary line of the adjoining properties. The property's driveway may encroach on a neighbor's land. A neighbor may have built a deck that extends over the borderline. Issues like these should be addressed before you close a transaction. A land survey would define the dimensions of the lot and outline any improvements (garage, pool, patios, house, drive, etc.) and show whether they encroach upon a neighbor's property.
Fees range depending on the size of the lot, your geographical location as well as the age of the lot. Over time, land does shift slightly and monuments (items such as trees or rocks that were used in initial land survey) may no longer exist. The surveyor will need to take these things into consideration when working on the property and may have to re-establish boundary lines.