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What Is Land Surveying And What Is It Used For?

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Published on Tuesday, December 08, 2015 by Land Century

Before buying any piece of land, it’s important to get an accurate land survey. Surveying will ensure that you know exactly what you’re purchasing, and help you avoid issues in the future.

If you’re purchasing your first piece of land, you may be wondering what land surveying is and what it’s used for.

What is Land Surveying?


Land surveying is a scientific technique used to determine a property’s points and distances between them. In many cases, these points are used to create boundaries for ownership and establish land maps.

Land surveyors use physics, mathematics, engineering and law to establish land boundaries. They also use a variety of equipment to do their job, like robotic total stations, prisms, GPS receivers, radios, 3D scanners, surveying software and tablets.

What is Land Surveying Used For?


Surveying has always been an important element in the development process. Most forms of construction will require a land survey before the project can start. But surveying is also commonly used to establish legal boundaries for plots of land.

Boundaries can be any artificial or natural separation of two adjacent properties. Natural boundaries are found in nature. A river is a good example of a natural boundary. Artificial boundaries are created by written conveyance.

In most cases, boundaries are created through written documents that contain very specific land descriptions. However, property rights may also be granted through unwritten means. If a person has been occupying a property for a long time, he or she may be granted property rights. A professional land surveyor will be able to research these factors and determine how they will affect your property’s boundaries.

When Should Land Be Surveyed?


There are a number of instances where a land survey will be warranted:

* Before purchasing a piece of property. A survey will provide you with information on the deeded property lines and the lines of possession.

* When financing land or a home, lenders may require you to obtain a land survey when taking out a loan to finance the property.

* Before dividing a parcel of land for sale.

* If there’s a conflict in use on your property.

* Before constructing any structure or improvement on the property.

* If you intend to sell a tract of land.

* When required by your lawyer, real estate agent, architect, or municipal planning office.

How to Get a Land Survey


If you’ve decided to get a land survey, will need to contact a local professional surveyor for the job. Explain to him/her why you want the survey, and he/she will advise you as to what type of survey and standards will be required.

For the best possible results, provide the land surveyor with a complete description of the property and any other information or documents that you have on the property. This may include:

* Title reports

* Previous survey reports

* Maps

* Abstract of title

* Location of quarter monuments

Before getting started, the land surveyor may require written authorization and may also request a retainer.

How Much Will a Land Survey Cost?


One of the first things you may be concerned about is the cost of the survey. Fees will vary depending on how difficult the survey will be and the time required to complete it.

Costs can be difficult to estimate because surveyors often cannot predict the amount of time that will be required to:

* Collect field data

* Research county and city records

* Cover necessary monuments

* Complete mathematical calculations

* Restore lost corners

* Prepare maps and descriptions of the property

As you can see, a lot of work is involved when creating a land survey. Depending on the property and the complexity of the survey, this is a process that could take a long time, and therefore, warrant a higher cost.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Land Surveyor


When buying land or a piece of real estate, you may overlook the importance of a land survey because of the cost. However, there are many benefits to getting a land survey, and in some cases, it may be required.

What can a land surveyor do for you?

A professional surveyor can review your deed and other evidence pertaining to the property to provide you with a professional opinion on your property’s boundary locations and any conflicts that you might face in the future. Surveyors can also create monuments at property corners and mark them properly, so they can be found and identified with ease.

In addition, surveyors will keep accurate records of all the services they perform for you and the measurements that they calculated. Surveyor that you hire may advise you of any defects in your land description, or of any evidence of conflict ownership or use of the property. If you require, a surveyor can prepare a map or plat of the property with boundary measurements, the calculated area and any monuments that were found or placed on the land.

Another added benefit to hiring a land surveyor (one that many property owners don’t realize) is that he/she can assist you with the layout and planning of blocks, lots, easements and streets if you’re developing a new subdivision. And if you do face any legal issues with adjacent property owners, a land surveyor can appear in court on your behalf as an expert witness.

If you’re purchasing a piece of property for development purposes, be it residential or commercial, it’s important to understand the property’s boundaries. And this is exactly what the survey will provide you with.

If you decide to build a home and put up a fence, for example, you may face issues with your neighbors. If you don’t understand the boundaries of the property, you may wind up placing the fence on your neighbor’s property instead. In this case, your neighbor may be generous and allow you to keep the fence there, or they may ask you to remove it. This could wind up being a very costly mistake.

Simply put, a professional land survey will help you protect your investment. By revealing the exact size, dimensions, and location of your property, you can ensure that development does not cause issues with adjacent property owners further on down the road.
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