Land Surveyor How To Find A Good One

Who would need a land surveyor? Imagine a new homeowner, naturally house- and lawn-proud, mowing a strip of lawn by his neighbors adjoining property; the neighbor comes out yelling at him to get off that land.  Or the neighbor is building a fence that overlaps the homeowners yard.  Or the persistent fellow has strung one end of a hammock onto the homeowners tree. 

Those are situations that call for the services of a land surveyor, someone impartial who decides, based on documentation and on-site calculation, whose property is whose.  This is especially needed for someone who has purchased newly titled land with the aforementioned pesky neighbors, or is subdividing a parcel or getting ready to build on improved lots.  A licensed professional surveyor is often necessary in any land disputes.

Land disputes are more common than one might think, not only from neighbors but also from city councils that want only certain building projects done, to condo boards who forbid certain improvements in ones yard. 

So how does one find a professional surveyor? 

The first thing the homeowner needs to do is consult all the closing papers for the property, and the plot maps describing the land; these can frequently answer ones questions quickly and may save a few fees.  Title insurance documentation usually includes plot maps and facts about the propertys easement, and these may address unresolved problems. 

Next, one should consult the title company who holds the policy, and ask for their recommendations for a professional to survey the property.  Sometimes the title company can answer or resolve property disputesagain, saving a surveyors fee.

Another step should be to consult the real estate agent who originally sold the property and tell this individual about property disputes and concerns.  This individual should be an authority on all questions regarding boundaries, as the agent holds the original documentation that he/she prepared for the sale.  If the questions are still unresolved, the real estate agent can usually recommend a quality professional to survey the property. 

Now, one has the surveyor in mindhopefully several, since the title company and the real estate agent should have given several recommendations.  If not, the internet is another source for discovering surveyors.  In searching the web, however, one should be sure that the professional selected belongs to either or both of the major surveyor certification organizations in the United States: the NSPS (National Society of Professional Surveyors) and the ACSM (American Congress on Surveying and Mapping). 

He/she should also be a member of the states surveyor certification/licensure data bank, and should be able to display, on his/her website, the necessary professional documentation.

The website search should link the homeowner to any number of professionals with appropriate certification and licensure.  The firm for which the engineer works should be a full service land survey and civil engineering organization, and the professional should be skilled in a number of land surveyor specialties.

These specialties include:

  • Preparing and processing acquisitions for easement
  • Verifying the viability of improvement plans and ascertaining their legality
  • Preparing and documenting encroachment permits
  • Having intimate knowledge of the area, particularly pipeline grids and other land/property subdivision barriers
  • Knowing the hydrological makeup of the area
  • Being expert (this one is essential) in right-of-way surveys to resolve neighboring disputes
  • Knowing the ins and outs of topographical (map-based) surveys and control surveys (which establish the network of points at which properties begin and end).

One can expect the surveying to completed in two days at the very latest, and the cost is determined by the size of the lot, ease of access and location and past surveys; it may run anywhere from $800 to $2000, based on these factors.  That is how a land surveyor is used to resolve disputes.