There are many different types of land surveys. Boundary land surveys are among the most common, and are the type of survey most likely to be encountered by the general public. Residential land surveying involves the precise measurements of the boundaries of a certain piece of real estate. This may also be called a boundary survey. Boundary land surveys may be used in the case of property disputes or before you build on the land; title and lending companies may also require a land survey showing structures on the property.
Residential land surveying is much more complicated than simply measuring the boundaries of your land according to the property deed. Land surveyors actually research and then plot the true boundaries of the property. One step that is often forgotten about by those considering a survey of their land is the research that begins before the actual measurements may be taken.
The first step of a boundary survey is to search for any records concerning the property. These include title certificates, deeds, and other papers. Then the land surveyor researches past boundary surveys, easements, and other records that may influence his findings. Most of today’s homes are built on property that was sold after dividing up a larger piece of property; this can make the survey’s job more challenging, especially if this division was not surveyed or recorded properly.
Once the surveyor understands the historic boundaries of the property, the land surveyor will take the measurements of your land, determining whether the in-use boundaries conflict with the boundaries recorded in records or past boundary surveys. Various points are marked, usually using stakes, to make re-surveying the land easier at some point in the future.
The measurements may be taken using a transit and tape measure, or an electronic tool known as an EDM. Today, GPS may also be used for land surveys, though not usually in areas that are heavily wooded. Newer technology is allowing residential land surveying to be undertaken with very accurate results.
Usually, a land surveyor will measure each location multiple times, averaging these results to determine the true position of the point. The location of boundaries and easements will then be marked on your land. After the measurements are complete and have been marked on your land, the land surveyor will generally walk the property with you, pointing out the landmarks measuring each point, such as a plastic or metal stake. Then, the surveyor will advise you on any differences between the current boundary survey and previous boundary surveys or records of the land, including any areas where neighboring property owners have encroached on the land.
When a professional land survey is complete, the property lines as stated by the licensed surveyor become the legal boundaries of the property. Usually, these boundary lines do not differ significantly from the previously accepted land boundaries, but this is not always the case. In some situations, your neighbors will also need to have a residential boundary land survey conducted as well, if there is a boundary dispute. Having your property surveyed by a residential land surveyor can give you peace of mind as you gain certainty about the exact boundaries of your property.
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