What you need to know about surveyors and land surveys

What you need to know about surveyors and land surveys

Before purchasing or selling land, you should have a professional carry out a survey of the area. A land survey tells you a lot about the property. Without a land survey, you can’t make informed decisions that will help you understand what the property offers and its full value. In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about surveyors and land surveys.

What you need to know about surveyors and land surveys

What is a surveyor?

You’ve probably seen surveyors out in the field at some point. They’re the ones in hard hats who are always peering through telescopic machines mounted on tripods, either gazing at the horizon or focused on a height staff held by their apprentice. Surveyors are often the first people on any construction or development site. Their role is to measure and map the land. Architects use a surveyor’s measurements when designing a property. Moreover, a surveyor’s findings help architects understand and make the most of a particular landscape. Engineers also use their findings to plan structures accurately and safely. A land survey will help determine whether a building can be constructed or fits with a landscape

What is a land survey?

Land surveying allows you to understand your land boundaries. A land survey is a drawing that shows exactly where the boundaries of a property are. A survey will also layout the dimensions and location of any buildings or other site improvements on the property.

Why have land surveyed?

As a property owner, you can have your property surveyed at any time. However, you will most likely hire a surveyor when you’re buying a home or constructing something. Moreover, a land survey helps you establish where your boundaries of ownership lie. You will most commonly require a surveyor’s professional services when:

  • Buying or selling a home or parcel of land.
  • Dividing land into smaller parcels or consolidating parcels.
  • Installing fences, septic systems or other improvements.
  • Locate and establish your property lines.

Types of surveys

The type of survey you get will depend on the reason you need a land survey. Here are the common types of land surveys:

Boundary survey

Surveyors use a boundary survey to establish the exact location of boundaries and corners on a property. Therefore, a boundary survey is useful for resolving legal issues, locating easements, and keeping personal records.

Location survey

A location survey is similar to a boundary survey, but it incorporates improvements to the site. The survey depicts the location and extent of improvements, as well as the distances between them and the property lines. Property owners often use a location survey for zoning permits.

Topographic survey

Topographical surveys layout the location of natural and man-made features on a property. These features may include buildings, fences, utilities, ponds, rivers, trees, and elevations. Engineers and architects typically use a topographic survey when planning site improvements.

Subdivision survey

Surveyors use a  subdivision survey to divide a parcel of land into multiple lots for a subdivision. In addition, a subdivision survey is used to create subdivision plats and must be filed in the land records with the relevant authority.

Site-planning survey

A site-plan survey is used to plan the development of site improvements. Therefore, the proposed building, or other improvement, is drawn inside of a boundary survey. A site-planning survey is normally used when you’re applying for building permits.

Construction survey

A construction survey involves the surveyor staking out the location of planned structures and improvements. The surveyor does this to show construction workers where to build and the distances between planned improvements.

Mortgage location survey

A mortgage lender or title insurer typically orders a residential mortgage location survey. A mortgage location survey shows proof that certain improvements are located on a given property. The survey plat must show particular information discovered from measurements taken at a site, and not necessarily evidenced by public record.

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