Although a land survey may seem tedious and unnecessary, in fact there are many cases in which you should have your land surveyed, to save confusion or legal troubles later. A land surveyor will research available documents concerning your land, including titles and previous surveys. He/she will also physically measure the property, checking these dimensions against the previous records to find any discrepancies. Here are some important reasons to consider surveying a piece of land.
Before buying a piece of land
You should always consider a new land survey if you are buying a piece of real estate. Even though many mortgage companies or title insurance companies do not require one, it is still smart to have a survey done. You should be aware of any boundary discrepancies that could affect the value of your property before purchasing it. Any disputes about the boundaries of the property should be settled before you agree to purchase it, or you can be in for a legal headache later.
Before selling a piece of land
You may also want to consider having a land survey done if you are planning to sell your property. This is especially important in areas where road access is questionable. Determining the status of roads on your land can help your realtor determine how marketable the property is. Shoreline footage and acreage are two more selling points that can be measured by a land survey. Some buyers might put in an offer that is contingent on a survey; if you have the survey done ahead of time, you can save time and increase the chances of selling your property quickly.
Before building on or improving your land
Before building a shed, fence, or other structure on your land (especially near property boudaries), consider having a land surveyor mark the exact edges of your property. That way, you can be assured that you are not building on your neighbor’s land, and you can assure yourself that you are not fencing out any land that is actually yours. This is especially important when building a house or other large, permanent structure. There are many things to keep in mind when situating such a building, including easements, setbacks, and other requirements that will be marked on your new land survey. Do not let your contractor or builder determine where to place this structure, as they will probably not be any more aware of your boundaries than you are.
If your neighbor is building near the property line, or if there is a dispute as to boundary
If your neighbor is building such a structure and you believe it to be on your property, have a land survey completed. This is the first step towards resolving any encroachment issues and ensuring that your land remains yours to use. Likewise, if you and your neighbor are in dispute in any way about the correct boundaries of the land, a survey will usually resolve such questions.
If the most recent survey is old
Using an outdated survey to determine boundaries puts you at a disadvantage. Newer measuring techniques, including GPS, mean that newer surveys will be the most accurate. Some areas, especially rural land, have not been surveyed since the nineteenth century, meaning that in many cases neighbors may be unknowingly encroaching on each other’s land.