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So, you’ve just been told you need to hire a land surveyor. Maybe you are building an addition to your property and your architect said you needed a land survey. Maybe you are in a boundary dispute with your neighbor and your lawyer told you to call a surveyor. Choosing the right surveyor for the job may seem like a daunting task especially if you don’t know what a surveyor does or what, exactly, a boundary survey even is. And, just picking the lowest bid could set you up for trouble down the road, especially if your property line is in dispute. To make things easier, we’ve compiled the top 5 questions you should ask a land surveyor to make sure you get the survey you need and avoid any unnecessary legal hassles.

1. Are you licensed in my state?

It is important to make sure the work is being done by a licensed Professional Land Surveyor. A Professional Land Surveyor has gone to school, passed a 12-hour exam, has years of professional experience and is an expert in measurement and boundary law. You will want to make sure they are licensed in your state to ensure they are familiar with boundary law in your area. Also, a licensed land surveyor can help you navigate the complex process of getting your map approved and recorded. Finally, in case of a problem down the road, you will want to have someone you can call to back up the work you paid for and assist you in court, if necessary. Only a licensed land surveyor can be called as an expert witness in the event of a boundary dispute.

You should always request confirmation of licensing credentials when hiring a Professional Surveyor. Only those licensed in the state in which services are to be performed are allowed to legally provide the services defined in the licensing laws found in that state’s Statutes and Regulations. Click here for more information about a surveyor’s professional qualifications.

Click here to check if your land surveyor is licensed and in good standing with the Board.

2. Is your crew educated and experienced in boundary surveys?

Each project is different, so crews with education and experience in measurement can easily solve issues on the fly in the field which could save you money. Crews with experience know what to look for in terms of finding survey markers, boundary evidence and know how to manage complex issues in the field.

3. How long have you been doing this work?

Experience is key to minimizing risk and avoiding costly errors. Every survey is unique to the property and environmental factors surrounding the property. Each survey performed adds to the knowledge base of the surveyor. A surveyor must combine the science of measurement with the art of interpreting history and have a clear understanding of boundary law and the legal aspects of boundary surveying.

4. What will I get as a result of the work you will be doing?

At the end of any boundary survey, the deliverable will be a record of survey map that has been reviewed, signed and approved by the county surveyor and recorded at the county recorder’s office. This is important, as some companies will say they are providing a boundary survey but do not, in fact, record the document with the county which does not provide you with a legal document that will hold up in court if there is a dispute. Be sure to ask any surveyor if they will be around later to support you if there is trouble further down the road.

5. Will the results accurately define my boundary?

It seems like you shouldn’t even have to ask this question, but not all survey products are equal. After the field work is performed, a licensed land surveyor should run the field data through a statistical analysis program which will guarantee the measurement results fall within the guidelines for boundary survey set forth by the American Land Title Association and the National Society for Professional Surveyors. If your surveyor doesn’t provide this service you should find someone who does.