Property survey shopping


Old 08-16-18, 08:50 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 10
Property survey shopping

I am in the market for a survey, seems like a good idea for a few reasons:
  • Might run underground electric and the utility needs to know what land I do/not have
  • Some trees right on the line, I'm not sure whose they are, can't ask neighborhouse since it's vacant, oh yeah and speaking of:
  • Caretaker (not city) for vacant neighborhouse did a Dumb Thing to my house, so countermeasures will need to be installed at/near property line

I called three places and the price is around $1400. That's generally finding corners, notation of items within five feet of property line, and a map. Then one place said $500, with a map, corners and items within five feet. Too good to be true? They also looked up the parcel right away while I had them on the phone, working out the addition name and stuff like that.

My lot is not complicated it's a 0.18 acre rectangle. Couldn't find a survey on file anywhere, I got a plat map but I'm not sure how to apply it to what I'm doing. I've been told there are pins but I couldn't find any, I'll try to find them with a metal detector this weekend. I was also told "Your line is the tag on the utility pole", "your line is the water meter", ok maybe, but nobody wants to confirm that. Hopefully a survey will just clear up all the speculation.

Anyway just looking for inputs or experiences with this. TIA,
The House.
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Old 08-16-18, 08:59 PM
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The national average for a property survey is $465. That depends on a lot of things and can fluctuate widely based on location. It sounds like you just need basic boundaries established there. I'm not sure what you are getting for the price of $1400.
Old 08-16-18, 09:19 PM
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Last time I needed to find the steel ground markers I went to the city light/water/street department and they came and did it for me no charge. Then all you need is a stringline. Worth a shot.

Course if you need "legal" proof, thats why you pay the big bucks.
Old 08-17-18, 04:14 AM
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There was a boundary dispute between me and a land owner at the back portion of my property about 8-10 yrs ago. I consulted a lawyer who said the surveyor who did the last survey [1yr prior to me buying] had a bad reputation. He also said that he never successfully defended one of that guys surveys or lost when going up against his surveys. Cost me $2500 to have my property re surveyed [16 mountain acres] I actually ended up with an extra 1/4 acre

A lot depends on what you need from the survey! If you just need to find the existing pins, try the metal detector first. The detectors the water dept uses are stronger than most diy type detectors [what surveyors use also] if that doesn't work go with the cheaper one unless he has a bad rep. If you need a survey that will hold up in court - use the one with the best reputation!
Old 09-30-18, 12:27 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Thanks all for writing in on this.
I did get a boundary survey done for around the national average. Shopping around found me national averages as well as two or three times that. I got pink flags, a map, iron pins inserted, all that good stuff. I wound up with both good news and bad news. Oh well, at least I know where stuff is.
I don't know if this is good advice or if I'm just a nerd, but during and after the survey I did a few things:
Make sure you're getting a map with the deal. One place wanted another $200 for a plat map.
The surveyor might do some spray painting and pin dropping at arbitrary points and leave. I took pictures of all that and wrote down where they were. Don't bother, s/he'll come back perhaps days later, and insert proper corners.
I took pictures of the corner flags from different angles and drew a map noting things around them. I also got a survey app on my phone and recorded them all within half a meter resolution. They'd installed pins but people can move them when you're not looking.
I measured a few landmarks to the pins just to make sure I was understanding the map.

You probably don't need to do all that but I think surveying's kind of neat and I wanted to note everything they did.
Old 10-01-18, 04:13 AM
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Make sure you're getting a map with the deal. One place wanted another $200 for a plat map.
Every survey I've had done also included several plats. I suspect the surveyor that was $200 cheaper was just planing to find and mark the existing pins. It's good to have a general idea where the pins are. That way if the need arises it isn't as hard to locate them.
Old 10-01-18, 04:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North East Kingdom of Vermont
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I would check with the Town or County Records Clerk and see if a Survey wasn't already recorded years ago.

Instead of starting from scratch, that's what a Registered Land Surveyor would do, and then s/he'd research for alterations since the Original Plat was drawn.

Land doesn't stretch or shrink (unless there's a moving body of water eroding from it or depositing land upon it) ; but it can be sub-divided or encroached upon, and some of those long standing adverse possessions may have legal standing or be grandfathered in.

I'd just take a moment to see what has already been recorded; instead of starting over. It sounds like this is an old parcel, and even if the map itself isn't available, the municipality should have a record of what their Tax Map was based on . . . . either a Deed, a Survey, or field evidence.

And remember, even if a new Survey contradicts some other already recorded Map of an abutting Parcel, it's often the one that was legally recorded first which will take precedence . . . . that's why Surveyors will often spend 75% of their time doing the research in the recording office BEFORE they venture out to collect any Field Evidence.

You can do much of the office research yourself.
Old 10-01-18, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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A survey within 5' is worthless if you are establishing a piece of land. Vermont has a good point about using the earliest recorded land survey since that is the law (property-wise).

Any idiot can take a tape (made of any material) and stretch it out and measure between 2 points to a set a stake. All too often, ordinary people grab a tape (just a tape made of any material) and say this is where the property line is. These people are just measuring the distance between the 2 points that may be at different elevations and they are measuring straight lines at any elevation on a spherical (round) surface that is curved. - that is why there are Registered Land Surveys to be used instead of a "pin" stuck in the ground or nailed to a power pole that may have been shifted.

Most legal disputes start with using a line that is within 5' of reality.


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