Land surveying is a complicated business, and for that reason there are quite a few misconceptions about what it is and why people need it. If you are considering whether to have a land survey done on your property (or property you plan to buy), chances are you have fallen prey to one or more of these myths, which have the potential to steer you wrong. To help you out, here is the truth about 7 common surveying myths:
MYTH 1: Land surveys aren’t necessary if you can find the survey stakes.
If you located the survey stakes from a previous survey, all you know is that there was a previous surveyor who might have determined that this location was on the edge of the property; that doesn’t mean the survey is accurate, or that you’ve actually found your property line. A professional land surveyor can tell you if what you’ve found is really your property line; you may be surprised to learn that in many cases, what you think is a surveying monument may not be one at all. Plus, your findings wouldn’t hold up in court, while a licensed land surveyor’s would.
MYTH 2: It’s very rare for a neighbor to encroach over a property line.
It’s more common than you think; land surveyors see these types of issues. Don’t be so sure that you aren’t encroaching onto property that legally belongs to your neighbor, or that they aren’t technically doing the same with your property. When in doubt, hire a land surveyor to mark the exact property line.
MYTH 3: I can build my fence on the property line without a survey.
Even when you’re sure you’re building only on your land, it’s always wise to protect your investment by making sure that you know exactly where the property lines are. If it turns out that you have built onto a neighboring property, you may be forced to tear down your work. Think twice before building a fence right on the property line, even if you think know right where it is.
MYTH 4: The fence has to be my property line; it’s been there a hundred years.
The reality is, the older the fence, the more likely it is to be encroaching, simply because survey records weren’t as accurate a hundred years ago as they are today. Fences, especially those built decades ago, are only an approximation of where the property line is or was thought to be. Again, don’t assume: hire a land surveyor to be sure.
MYTH 5: All the land has already been surveyed; it’s just a matter of finding the survey.
Although you may be able to find old maps created for tax purposes, in many cases the land you own might have never been surveyed. Additionally, if you do find a previous survey from decades ago, there’s no guarantee it was accurate at the time, nor will it necessarily help solve your issue or assist you in identifying the actual property lines on the ground.
MYTH 6: I don’t need a second survey if the land was surveyed in the past.
Land surveying is an art, not an exact science. It is possible for two surveyors to obtain different results. Also, because the measurements are made based on the evidence found, two surveyors working at different points in time may not have the same evidence available. The new surveyor will have the benefit of the monuments set by the previous surveyor, if they are still in existence, as well as any records documented after the previous survey. If the previous survey’s results are being questioned, it may be worth it to have another survey done.
MYTH 7: Having a survey done is too expensive.
Actually, not having a survey done when you really need one can cost you thousands of dollars, down the road, especially if you build a structure that encroaches on a neighbor’s land. Is it worth the risk? This professional service is well worth the cost.
Call Point to Point Land Surveyors, Inc. and have your property surveyed before installing a fence or other structure that could impact the property line.