FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Click on each question to see the answer.
Land surveying is a service that people rarely need, but when the need does arise a little background information on land surveying can help you avoid costly mistakes. You should have a survey done anytime you have boundary changes or land division, ownership transfer, erection of fences or structures that are related to a property boundary. Be aware that land ownership records on file may contradict adjoining and adjacent property descriptions. Gaps and overlaps are not uncommon and a Registered Land Surveyor can help you sort out the true land boundary. Often times boundary lines are taken for granted, be sure that you know where your property boundaries are. The fees of a Registered Land Surveyor will cost you less in time, money and worry when it comes time to buy a strip of your neighbor's land, move improvements or defend a lawsuit.
A Land Surveyor should never be chosen on price alone, remember the old saying, 'You get what you pay for'. Registered Land Surveyors vary in knowledge and ability, so choose a reputable firm that you can put your trust into - competency should be the number one factor. Professionals who are familiar with the locale of your property are usually more cost efficient than those who are not.
Please visit our Services page for a description of the types of surveys that we provide. If you have a specific question regarding the type of survey you need please feel free to call our principal consultant.
Most often all the 'competent' Land Surveyors in your geographic area will have competitive rates. The cost to survey your property most often will not vary greatly by which Land Surveyor you choose to hire. The common practice of calling all of the surveyors in your area and getting quotes may actually inflate the cost of surveying your land. A Land Surveyor will always assume the worst possible situation, which may inaccurately reflect the cost of the survey. The best solution is to select your Land Surveyor based on his or her performance and reputation not the price estimate that he or she gives you on a survey.
A Registered/Professional Land Surveyor can provide an estimation of costs with a little help from you. First you must provide the surveyor with as much information as you have regarding your property. This may include previous surveys, memories from the past, an abstract, or a copy of your Deed, which contains the legal description, so that they can offer an accurate estimate. Survey estimates can vary depending on a multitude of factors such as size of parcel, terrain, location, level of detail required, etc. making it difficult to estimate exact fees in advance. We do not provide costs per corner estimates. Instead, we invite you to come in and sit down with one of our surveyors. They can tailor a survey to meet your specific needs. The following is a list of various factors that can affect the cost of a survey.
Type of Survey: Each type of survey requires a different scope. The cost of a survey may increase, because of the type of survey required.
Research/Records Search: Land surveys require a search of the recorded documents involving a parcel of land and the parcels of land adjacent to it. This step can sometimes become complicated by the way past land transactions have been handled, often times resulting in incomplete, vague and in some cases contradictory land records and legal descriptions. It may even be possible that a parcel of land is not locatable based on the legal description alone.
Shape and Size of Property: Rectangular parcels of land generally are cheaper to survey and have less corner monuments than do irregular shaped parcels containing the same amount of land.
Sectionalized Survey Work: Depending on where your parcel is located, the surveyor may have to break down an entire one-mile section within which your parcel lies. In some cases when the parcel falls into multiple sections a survey of those sections will also be required.
Existing Evidence on Property: Existing evidence such as iron monuments, fences and occupational lines, witness trees, etc. may help the surveyor “put the pieces of the puzzle together”. The absence of such evidence may make it more time consuming for the surveyor to retrace the original survey.
Terrain: Rolling terrain is generally more difficult to survey than a level parcel of land
Accessibility: The location of the parcel from our office plays a part in the amount of time that it takes to perform the survey work. This includes the distance to the site and any difficultly in reaching the Public Land Corners.
Time of Year: In the winter, our work may go faster if water is involved since we can walk on it, but the amount of snow can adversely affect the time we have to spend searching for evidence. Summer time foliage can also present challenges and time constraints due to the inability to see through leaves.
Vegetation: Parcels of land that are heavily covered with brush and trees are generally more expensive to survey than wide-open prairie.
Record of Survey Plat: It may be required by law that a plat (drawing) be filed with the County Surveyor upon completion of the work in the field. When a record of survey plat is necessary, the cost of the survey will be increased to account for the time it takes a draftsman to generate a drawing on the computer after the field work is completed. A plat filing fee is also required by the county.
Often times when the need of a survey arises, time is of the essence. The land might be immediately sold, utilities may need to be installed, or a home may need to be sited. The Land Surveyor must perform certain tasks before he can ever begin to set your boundary corners.
First, the Deed needs to be received from you and the surveyor must research all available physical and non-physical information about your property. This usually includes acquiring the survey plats and deeds of adjacent properties from the county surveyor, "tying in" existing fences and corners and calculating your corner locations based on Land Surveying Law and Standard Practices. This process can generally be completed in one or two days, with the corners being set on the third or fourth day. This assumes that the surveyors scheduling allows him to start on your survey immediately.
No. It is your responsibility as a client to furnish the Land Surveyor with a current title and legal description of your parcel of land.
Land Surveyors will place an acceptable monument at your property corners bearing the Professional Land Surveyor's license number. A Record of Survey Plat will also be prepared showing where these monuments are located. On request, the surveyor can also point out the placement of corners on the ground.
Boundary line gaps and overlaps are often a result of legal descriptions, or previous surveys, that were performed without the benefit of a ‘competent’ Professional Land Surveyor. Another source of conflict can be misinformation given to the Land Surveyor, or the unavailability of certain information. However, if a conflicting boundary and/or easement does occur, it is possible to work through these problems using Land Surveyors as consultants and mediators. Land Surveyors have established certain standards of practice, which are acceptable in the profession. All competent Land Surveyors are familiar with these laws and standards of practice, therefore most all property disputes can be settled between Surveyors without requiring court action, or lawyers. Land Surveying professionals are proud of their profession and respect other Land Surveying Professionals. This respect aids greatly in settling land division conflicts.