How to Get a Land Survey

Land surveys are of utmost importance when purchasing new land or building anything new on your land. If you are seeking a loan to buy a piece of property, your lender will almost certainly require that the land be surveyed. If you are building anything new near the property line, such as a fence or a shed, getting a survey done can keep you out of expensive legal trouble. Fortunately, you can learn how to get a land survey by following a few steps.


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    Determine if you need to have a survey done. There are 6 situations in which a land survey should be performed.
    • Get a survey done if you are buying a new piece of property. The reason is simple: you need to make sure that what you think you're buying is actually what you're buying. Most lenders will require a survey anyway.
    • Get a survey done if you are constructing anything new on your property. Most zoning ordinances and neighborhood codes will specify a required setback from your property line. If you don't know precisely where your property line is, you won't be able to adhere to this regulation.
    • Get a survey done if your property has any access easements. All property owners are entitled to access their property, and this often requires getting easements to allow the use of a neighboring land parcel for access. Easements should specify very clearly the centerline and width of any access corridors.
    • Get a survey done if you are selling your property. Having a current survey on file will greatly improve the marketability of your home. Buyers will be more interested in your property if you give them the confidence that a proper survey has been performed.
    • Get a survey done if you need to verify the acreage of your property for tax assessments. Your local jurisdiction may require you to have a current survey on file to correctly assess property taxes.
    • Get a survey done if your neighbor starts building anything new. If you suspect your neighbor is encroaching on your property or violating setback regulations, you need a survey on your own property to initiate any legal action.
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    Contact several local surveying firms to get cost estimates. Have your deed ready, because surveyors will generally not give an estimate unless they have a copy of your deed. Explain the reason why you need a survey and any other concerns you might have.
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    Compare the estimates from the surveyors you contacted. Good surveying firms will do their research before providing a bid. Make sure that they've checked for any previous surveys done on your property by government offices or private surveyors. Surveys will cost less if some of the boundaries can be quickly verified through previous surveys.
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    Select a surveyor. When you're happy with a company's bid, sign the contract included with the bid and return it to the company. You will generally have to pay a retainer fee at this point. Make sure that you clearly understand how long it will take the surveyor to complete the survey before contracting with them.
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    Allow the surveyor to perform the survey. When the job is done, you should receive a signed certificate from them certifying that the survey has been recorded.


  • In certain areas, weather considerations can play a huge role in determining when a property can be surveyed; surveyors can't work very well when they're up to their knees in snow, for instance. Keep these considerations in mind when contacting surveyors.

Things You'll Need

  • Deed

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Categories: Landscaping and Outdoor Building