wikiHow to Find a Land Survey

Two Methods:Finding What Entity Keeps SurveysHaving Your Land Surveyed

Land surveys are essential at various times in your life, such as when you buy a house or when you need to build on your land. They are conducted by licensed professionals and must meet certain requirements. Some governments require copies of survey to be kept at the local or state level but not all. Finding one requires a bit of research.

Method 1
Finding What Entity Keeps Surveys

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    Check with your local government. Mostly, land surveys are created and kept by your local government. Often, they are kept at the city or county level, but they are also kept at the state level. The easiest way to find out who keeps them is to look at the websites for these entities, which should tell you if they keep surveys or not.[1]
    • Some states do not keep records of land boundaries, though sometimes the more local governments do when the state does not.[2]
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    Try a public or land record search site. Some websites, such as Public Records, groups government websites that keep these records by state. Other websites have a general search directory. If you can find your state, you can look at the list of websites to find land surveys in your area.[3]
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    Put in the information you have. Unfortunately, you'll usually need some very specific information when searching for a land survey. For instance, with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, you need information such as the township, the surveyor, the document name, the land range, or the county to find what you are looking for. Use what information you have; if you don't have much, you'll need to dig through more results than if you have all of the information you need.[4]
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    Search through the results. Unless the survey search is performed by address, you will likely have more than one survey returned. Find the one that best matches your property.
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    Contact the office. Sometimes, records are not available online. In that case, you need to contact the government office with the record. You will need to provide information for the land survey, such as the address. You will likely be required to pay a fee to receive the document.[5]
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    Contact a previous surveyor. Sometimes, the only way to get a land survey of your property from a previous period is to find the land surveyor who made it, as it legally belongs to him or her. To find the surveyor, you can look through the legal history of the property on local government websites or where city or county records are kept near you. You will most likely have to pay a fee to get a copy.[6]

Method 2
Having Your Land Surveyed

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    Find the official deed. Your official deed is also usually filed with the government. It may be filed with the city or county. In most cases, you will need to visit the office in person to receive a deed. You will need basic information about your property. In addition, you may need to pay a fee to get a deed.[7]
    • A mortgage description, an abstract, or an aerial photo of the land are also useful to the surveyor if you can provide a copy.[8]
    • Don't worry if you don't have any of these pieces of information, as part of the surveyor's job is to do some preliminary research to find out what he or she needs. Nonetheless, having these documents can save you some money because it means the surveyor doesn't need to spend time looking for them.[9]
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    Look for any markers. Different surveyors use different markers to create the boundaries of the land. Some common markers are iron pipes, wooden stakes,[10] masonry nails in asphalt, markings in concrete, and small concrete monuments.[11] If you know where these are on your property, tell your surveyor.[12]
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    Get estimates. Contact land surveyor offices to get estimates of how much your survey will cost. While most surveyors can't give you an exact cost, he or she can give you an idea of what it will cost. Cost is important when choosing a surveyor,[13] but quality and a good reputation are better criteria.[14]
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    Hire a surveyor. If you don't have one in mind, your realtor can likely recommend one. In addition, if your realtor has an old land survey provided by the previous owner, you can contact that surveyor. Ask him or her to update it. You can save some money by using the same surveyor who already viewed and marked the property.[15]
    • Make sure your surveyor is licensed. Most states require that land surveyors be licensed by the state or nationally licensed (such as through the National Society of Professional Surveyors).[16] It's important to make sure your surveyor's work be recognized by the state; ask about his or her license before hiring your surveyor.[17]
    • If you are having a property surveyed that you are buying, generally that purchase is a part of your closing costs on the house or property, though it can be negotiated.[18]
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    Have the survey done. Your surveyor will come to your property to measure it against the legal record. He or she will also create a map of the property, which will include information about why the survey was performed. Once done, he or she will sometimes be required to give a copy to the local government to have on file.[19]
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    Request a copy of the survey. Once the survey has been done, request a copy of the survey to keep for your own records. By rights, the survey belongs to the surveyor, but when you hire a surveyor, he or she will provide you with a copy.[20]

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Categories: Real Estate | Buying Property