What is a Surveyor?
Surveying measures land and writes legally accepted descriptions and definitions of property, records their results, verifies the accuracy of data and prepares plots, maps, and reports. These formal land surveys are required in any meaningful real estate property transaction or conversion.
The Surveyor writes descriptions of land for deeds, leases, and other legal documents; defines airspace for airports; takes measurements of construction and mineral sites and provides data about the shape, contour, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features. The team of professionals research legal records, look for evidence of previous boundaries and analyze data to determine the location of boundary lines.
What is Surveying?
Surveying or land surveying is the technique and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional space position of points and the distances and angles between them. These points are usually on the surface of the Earth and are often used to establish land maps and boundaries for ownership or governmental purposes.
How much will my survey cost and why will it cost that much?
There are many factors that come into play during the process of a survey. These factors include things such as terrain, foliage, old recorded documents, date of the last survey, disturbed or missing property corners, size of the tract to be surveyed and the scope of services required to name a few. Before pricing or quoting a survey a look at these and other factors should be taken to ensure an accurate price is given. Be upfront with your surveyor and let them know what you expect as a final product and the services you expect to receive during the survey process. Each surveyor will price or quote a job differently but should be able to advise clients in regards to expense.
Do you have to be licensed to survey land in North Carolina?
If you are surveying your property for personal use, no. But in North Carolina, an individual must take and pass an examination before they can offer surveying services. The NC Board of Registration for Engineers and Land Surveyors is the licensing board and keeps a record of all licensed surveyors in the state of NC. To maintain a NC license, all NC professional Land Surveyors must acquire 15 hours of continuing education each year. If you suspect someone of surveying without a NC license, please contact the board listed above.
How long is a survey good for?
Surveys are used in the preparation of legal documents such as deeds, easements, agreements, etc., and the results of a survey are often time reflected on a plat or map. These records may transfer land for many years and are often the only source for finding the true and original location of property corners. This alone assures that surveys are good for a long time if not forever. Many times old plats or maps are used by current surveyors to retrace old boundary lines. Many people will only have their property surveyed once but may refer back to their documents for many years.
Why do I need a survey?
The largest investment most people make is their home or land. Each landowner should have a survey completed of their property to ensure they are buying and getting what they believe they are. Each landowner should also know where their property boundaries lie to protect their property from encroachments and trespassing. Too many times people opt out of the option for a survey and end up with legal and or personal issues.
What if I disagree with a survey or a surveyor?
The first thing you should do is confront the surveyor that did the survey. Many times any misunderstanding can be resolved by addressing your concerns with the surveyor and by seeing the evidence the surveyor found and hearing an explanation of the survey. If you believe the surveyor is acting unethically, you should contact the NCBELS and they will investigate the complaint.
How do I choose a surveyor?
As with all other professionals, you should hire a surveyor based on their qualifications and their track record. Communication is a must. You should hire someone you are comfortable talking to and that you want to do business with. There are many licensed surveyors in NC, they all passed the same test, but their experience and qualifications based on your needs may vary greatly. Always ask for references and examples of their work. Word of mouth is the best indication that you are choosing the right surveyor.
What are the qualifications to become a surveyor?
It is a rigorous academic process requiring testing and continuing education standards set by the NCBELS.
What if I do not want a survey, I just want my property corners located?
Although the scope of services may be small, you are still ordering a survey.
Do you survey with GPS and use the satellites?
Yes. Many surveyors use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate boundaries and other things needed to perform a survey. GPS is a great tool to have and use. However, the cost and the limitations of the equipment keep it from totally replacing the other equipment surveyor’s use every day.
What is that nail for?
Most, if not all surveyors, use some reference mark for their equipment. These references may be nails, rebars, pipes, etc. that the surveyor “set up” the equipment on to locate what is needed to perform the survey. If you see these reference points, there is no need to be alarmed more times than not the only person that uses these are your surveyor, and they have no meaning except to them.
Why are you surveying way over there on my neighbor’s property?
During the performance of a survey, there may be many reasons why your surveyor is locating things that are not on your property. Surveyors in NC are required to “tie” their surveys to reference points that may or may not exist on your property. The verification of your property corners is done by locating other property corners and examining their location, and their location is given in the deeds and on the plats. If your property corners have been disturbed or removed, it will be necessary to locate adjoining property corners to reestablish where your property corners belong.
What do I do now that the survey is completed?
Depending on the reason for the survey you may need to do nothing. If it is a transfer of property, you probably need to get the survey to an attorney to prepare a deed, or in some cases, it may need to be reviewed by a county or municipal officer to verify it meets all applicable zoning, subdivision and any other rules and laws. Your surveyor will help guide you through this process and make sure you have what you need.
What type of survey do I need?
There are so many reasons you may need a survey that the best answer to this is to talk with your surveyor about your needs and they will be able to help you determine what type or survey is needed. A good rule of thumb may be to tell the surveyor to perform the survey like it is their property that should get you what you need and not a lot of unnecessary extras.