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We could have never predicted that during a global pandemic we would see a rise in requests from homeowners who want to have a boundary survey performed on their property, but the increase is remarkable. I am not sure if this is due to the extra time spent at home to accomplish that project they have been putting off or the desire to keep the neighbors and their kids at an appropriate social distance, but fences and landscaping projects have been two of the largest reasons cited for requesting the land survey in the last few months. While speaking with these property owners it becomes apparent that there are many misconceptions with what a land surveyor does and why people need a survey. If you are considering whether to have a land survey done on your property, chances are you have fallen prey to one or more of these myths. So, in order to clear up some misunderstanding, here is the truth about five common land surveying myths:

MYTH 1: Land Surveys Aren’t Necessary If You Can Find The Survey Stakes.

If you can locate the survey stakes from a previous survey, all you know is that there was a previous surveyor who might have determined that this location was on the edge of the property; that doesn’t mean the survey is accurate, or that you’ve found your property line. A professional land surveyor can tell you if what you’ve found is your property line; you may be surprised to learn that in many cases, what you think is a surveying monument may not be one at all.

MYTH 2: All The Land Has Already Been Surveyed; It’s Just A Matter Of Finding the Maps or Plans.

Although you may be able to find the old maps or plans of your property, in many cases, the land you own might have never actually been surveyed. Additionally, if you do find a previous survey from decades ago, there’s no guarantee it will necessarily help to solve your issue or assist you in identifying the actual property lines on the ground.

MYTH 3: I Don’t Need A Full Survey, I Just Need One Line Marked.

To debunk this misconception, let’s go back to high school geometry class. Let’s assume for a second that we can find both markers at the ends of the property line in question. How do we know that those markers are in the correct angular and distance relationship with the rest of your property lines? How do we know that the two markers we found are not in conflict with the other property lines for the neighbors that shares this line in common with you? There is no way to tell without locating more corners to verify the markers found are in the correct location. A proper land survey verifies the line in question is in harmony with the rest of your property as well as the neighbor’s property lines. You can’t just survey one line.  

MYTH 4: I Can Build My Fence On The Property Line Without A Survey.

Fencing is an expensive investment. Even when you’re sure you’re building only on your land, it’s always wise to protect your investment by making sure that you know exactly where the property lines are. If it turns out that you have built onto a neighboring property, you may be forced to tear down your work. Think twice before building a fence right on the property line, even if you think you know right where it is.

MYTH 5: Having A Survey Done Is Too Expensive.

Not having a survey done when you need one can cost you thousands of dollars down the road, especially if you build a structure that encroaches on a neighbor’s land. Is it worth the risk? This professional service is well worth the cost.