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When Should You Call a Professional Surveyor?

by Cindy on June 24, 2014

Knowing the right time to call a surveyor can be tricky. Many people try to erect improvements on their land by doing their own research searching the internet for ways to determine where their boundary lines are.  When it comes to real property boundaries and rights though, a professional surveyor should be consulted. A surveyor may not ultimately be required, but a consultation will give the land owner a piece of mind. Below are a few examples of when a professional surveyor should be consulted.
Boundary line disputes between property owners
One of the first things that a surveyor will do is research the line that is in dispute and see if a boundary survey is required to help resolve the issue.  If there is an existing survey or surveys on the tracts of land involved, a land surveyor may be retained to review those surveys and offer his or her opinion.  A surveyor may also help mediate the dispute and help the owners come to an amenable resolution.
Building improvements on the property
Improvements could involve anything from adding on to a structure, building a new fence, irrigation system, or landscaping.  When people are spending money to add value to their property, they should ensure the improvements are within the limits of their boundary.
Drainage issues can be a concern for adjoining land owners
A professional surveyor can help solve such problems by performing a topographic survey of the area and working with a civil engineer to determine how drainage could be improved to make both parties happy.
The purchase of a tract of land or dividing a tract of land
A professional surveyor can perform an ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey and provide a drawing that shows improvements, boundary issues, and easements in order to support the title company and lender’s needs. These surveys are normally used on commercial properties, but are also used when problems are found on residential property.
When property is hindered by a flood zone or your bank is requiring flood insurance
A Professional Surveyor can provide a topographic survey to determine if the land lies above or below the flood elevation.  If the land is found to be clear of the base flood elevation, an exhibit drawing with a land description can be prepared and provided to FEMA to have the land removed from the flood zone area.  Alternatively, if the land is found to, in fact, be within the flood zone, the surveyor can so advise the owner and may even be able to make suggestions to mitigate the issue.
There are many other reasons that a professional surveyor might be consulted, but these represent a few of the more common occasions.  If you are not sure if you need a surveyor or not, you can always contact one; surveyors will normally be happy to provide some free guidance to help out those who are unsure.