What You Need to Know About Hiring a Land Surveyor

Hiring a Land Surveyor

land surveyorWe pay good money to hire somebody just to get them do what needs to be done. If you want to make the best of your money, it just makes sense to hire the best. I’m sure nobody wants to pay good money and get lousy service in return. 

If you’re looking for a land surveyor, here’s a few things that you’d like to remember. 

You’d need to choose from a pool of land surveyors in order for you to find the best. Looking for land surveying companies in your area would be a very good start. Aside from the yellow pages, you can also check the newspaper and the internet. Compile a list of the companies’ contact information which includes their phone number, email address and website. 

Hiring a Licensed Surveyor

Make sure that the person you’ll be working with is a licensed surveyor. Ask for a copy of their license so you could check its authenticity. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against the company.

Another important thing to remember is to hire someone whom you’ll be comfortable working with. In order to determine this, meet with the land surveyor you’re planning to hire. You’ll be able to decide by the way he talks to you or answers your questions. Aside from seeing if you’ll be comfortable around him, you’d also be able to measure how knowledgeable he is. 

Make sure that you thoroughly read and understand the contract before signing it. Read everything, especially the fine print. Also make sure that you’ll get the services that you’ll pay for, and that there are no hidden charges. Signing a contract makes you legally bounded to its terms, so make sure that you fully understand what you’re signing up for. 

It’s not really that hard hiring a land surveyor. Just remember to hire someone who is honest when it comes to doing the job so that you get the best bang for your buck.

The Lost Art of Locating Property Corners

Locating Property Corners

Article by Glen Tanner, Professional Land Surveyor, Copyright 2011, Used by Permission

property cornersThe art of finding property cornersis being lost. The following picture shows what inspired this article. The two rebar, a #4 rebar and a #5 rebar, shown in the photo to the right are 1.9 feet apart and set in 1994 or after according to the client. Did surveyors not have Minimum Technical Standards and magnetic locators or at least an aqua locator in 1994? How many of you surveyors had your crew come in and the party chief tells you that they had to set an iron because they couldn’t find an iron pin? How many of you accept this or do you check it out yourself?There is a lot of iron ore in the rocks around these two rebar, which will mess with magnetic locators if your not patient.(Photos taken 03-16-11)
Any time I go into an old subdivision, pre-1980-85, before surveyors started using rebar and see capped rebar at corners where galvanized iron pins, solid bars or old irons should be, I always ask myself how hard did the surveyor look before setting the corner. Setting a new pin Increases the land surveyors liability AND causes confusion as to the true location of the property boundaries.
In old neighborhoods, especially those that go up and down steep inclines, very seldom do the irons on the ground match the recorded plat or deed, in angle or in distance, and if you try to use a pre-set data collector and a total station, 9 out of 10 times you will not find all the property corners – not because they’re missing, but because you’re probably in the wrong place or weren’t looking hard enough. We should always remember that in old subdivisions and old boundary surveys, surveyors used plumb bobs, chain, theodolite, and no one knows what the closure of the survey may have been, if it even had one.
Property cornersAlmost all survey crews today have a magnetic pin finder and either a bushaxe or machete. But for some jobs, these aren’t adequate. As a Professional Surveyor I use the tools shown to the left. Without them, how do you expect your crews to locate property corners if they can’t even dig them up? The magnetic locator in this picture is about 17 years old. It is held together with JB-weld and duck tape. The reason I don’t buy a new one is because new isn’t always better, when it growls I understand why, when it screams I know why, most of all I’ve had very good luck with it finding corners. I have alwaysused an aqua locator, the small black box in the picture, near fences or when I doubt what the magnetic locator is doing. An aqua locator works as deep as 2 feet. I go thru a sharp shooter a year, the pick is for hard ground, the post hole diggers are for when the sharp shooter doesn’t work getting out the dirt.

The next question is how low will you go to find a property corner, in other words how deep will you dig before you give up and set a property corner?
The following pictures were taken 3-16-11 but the work was done about a week before. (That is why you will see a post in the picture.) I re-dug the hole to get the photo of this rare find. The first item I found was the bottom of a coke bottle. (center of the photo)
How many of your crew members would quit here thinking this is garbage? Would they keep digging and discover the property corner UNDER the bottle?Property corner
Property corner

How deep does your crew dig to find a property corner? I personally go until I’m absolutely sure.

One open-top iron pipe found – the original property corner on this subdivision lot.

The deepest I have ever had to dig to locate an iron is 3 feet. I have found old irons that a tree has grown over or around as much as a foot in the tree. This lot was a 100 by 200 according to the plat, but on the ground along the road it measured 98 feet, along the rear of lot, 96 feet and 198 feet in depth. Boy, this one sure matched the plat. This lot originally was an Autauga county gully that has been filled. The plat was recorded in 1969 and all lots shown on the plat along the south line were shown to be 160 feet plus or minus. Do you believe the rest of the subdivision is going to match the plat?

Finding instead of setting property corners

Due to improper equipment, lack of skill and training, or proper time and effort by land surveyors and survey crews to locate or find property corners in old subdivisions, more and more corners are being set instead of being found. I have always believed it is better to find an original corner than to set a new  corner.
Property cornerAsk anyone that knows me, they will tell you, before Glen Tanner quits looking and sets an iron, the ground will look like it has been attacked by armadillos and groundhogs. The art and skill of finding property corners is disappearing. We as surveyors need to teach and emphasize the need to look for and locate property corners. I find about 90% of property corners in old subdivisions. It isn’t always easy and some of the time it is very time consuming. I have been known to go back on a different day, after having had time to look at my field data, and start fresh with a better idea on where to look before setting an iron pin. It does work but it takes time, it is something we don’t allow ourselves or allow our survey crews – time to look.
Isn’t our duty as a land surveyorto follow in the footsteps of the original land surveyor as closely as possible, not to re-interpret or move a corner to where it calculates. Many of you surveyors are going to say that your “clients aren’t going to pay for it” or “I didn’t allow that much time in the job to be going back.” That’s our job, Isn’t it? Isn’t it required by the Standards of Practice? Isn’t it our ethical duty to protect the public and to do these things regardless of what the client is willing to pay or how much time we have allowed in the job?The art to finding old irons is to listen to property owners, who know the area, or how it was surveyed, but most of all taking the time to look and dig. That’s right – dig – a lot. My magnetic locator doesn’t have a brain, it didn’t go to school, it doesn’t speak English, Spanish or French – But, it will lie to you. Learn to understand your equipment, something that may take months, even a year or two. Understanding the squeaks and squalls of the magnetic locator signal being sent to the user is important. Remember be patient, learn what what to look for and most of all – dig, dig, dig. THIS is the art of locating old property corners.

If you need help locating your property lines or property corners in the Auburn area, please call the Auburn land surveyors at (334) 826-9540. Our field crew strives to live up to the high standards Glen talks about in this article.

Why You SHOULD Have a Land Survey Completed Before Purchasing Land?

The importance of land survey before purchasing land

land surveyBuying land, whether commercial or residential, is actually a costly endeavor, even when prices have eased somewhat lately. This is the reason locating a parcel which you like and making a deal for it without performing a land survey within the area is likely to be the greatest mistake that you could make.

Here’s why it’s extremely important that you have land survey done first:

Land surveyors can determine whether you’re actually getting what you’re gonna pay for. This determine whether or not the sidewalks, trees, driveways and even the bird bath is part of the property you’re going to buy. Land surveying would also see whether the neighbors are encroaching into your property, which will then mean you’re likely to have problems later on with your neighbors. Getting a land surveyor doesn’t only mean they know what you’re getting or otherwise not getting – land surveyors are the experts, and so they can help with building regulations, wetland regulations, etc. Please note that these regulations may change anytime, but land surveyors ought to be updated on these regulations, or they’ll refer you to somebody who is.

Let’s say the present landowner (the one selling the land) supply you with old land survey documents? You should still hire your personal land surveyor to find out if the boundary monuments remain in position. Also, land surveying done a couple of years back might not show recent changes to the land. When the existing survey is older than about 10 years, you need to get the latest survey. Technology and surveying standards are much better now and could give you more confidence in the survey work.

Second, that survey was completed for that owner. He might have instructed the surveyor not to show some things on the drawing. At least have a land surveyor get out there and evaluate the parcel using this survey in hand. We have witnessed numerous cases when a whole new land survey would save the customer thousands so don’t be a victim.

I’ve heard many say getting a land surveyor is nothing but unnecessary expense. I’ll let you know what’s unnecessary: the worries brought on by paying 1000s of dollars for something and finding yourself not receiving whatever you were expecting. If you’re smart, you’d hire a professional surveyor to do the land survey prior to making any land purchases.

Welcome to Auburn Land Surveying

Auburn Land Surveying website

This site is intended to provide you with information on Land Surveying in the Auburn and Opelika, AL plus the Lee County and surrounding areas of Alabama. If you’re looking for an Auburn Land Surveyor, you’ve come to the right site. If you’d rather talk to someone about your land surveying needs, please call  us at (334) 826-9540 today. For more information, please continue to read.

Auburn land surveying

Land Surveyors are professionals who measure and make precise measurements to determine the size and boundaries of a piece of real estate.  While this is a simplistic definition, boundary surveying is one of the most common types of surveying related to home and land owners. If you fall into the following categories, please click on the appropriate link for more information on that subject:

Auburn Land Surveying services:

  1. I need to know where my property corners or property lines are. (Boundary Survey)
  2. I have a loan closing or re-finance coming up on my home in a subdivision. (Lot Survey)
  3. I need a map of my property with contour lines to show elevation differences for my architect or engineer. (Topo Survey)
  4. I’ve just been told I’m in a flood zone or I ‘ve been told I need an elevation certificate in order to obtain flood insurance or prove I don’t need it. (Flood Survey)
  5. I’m purchasing a lot/house in a recorded subdivision. (Lot Survey – See Boundary Survey)
  6. I’m purchasing a larger tract of land, acreage, that hasn’t been subdivided in the past. (Boundary Survey)
  7. I need to get some location and grades set on a construction project. (Construction Survey )
  8. I need a survey of a commercial or multi-family site that meets the ALTA Land Title Survey requirements. (ALTA Survey)

Contact Auburn Land Surveying Now.