While you will often hear a surveyor extol the virtues of having a survey, it is the conversations we have with homeowners with buyer’s remorse that hit us the heaviest. We are often contracted to provide a survey after-the-fact. When a client has a boundary situation and needs to decide whether to hire an attorney to litigate a claim or learn to live with the boundaries the way they are. Despite our best attempts at explaining the value of being pro-active, it often not heard.
Well, this past week we read about a boundary dispute in Maine that resulted in a man cutting his neighbor’s garage in half with a Sawzall when a property dispute went unresolved. Now, this is extreme but it serves as one of those cautionary tales that you can’t ignore. Here’s a link if you want to read the article yourself: https://bangordailynews.com/2020/07/18
Remember that your property is one of the greatest investments that you will make in your lifetime. A boundary survey can uncover potential problems before they arise. Surveys are encouraged anytime that you are about to start work on your property. Some great examples would be when you are putting up a fence, taking down trees, and adding an addition or a garage to your home. Poor deed descriptions or encroachments from others can make it difficult for you to successfully locate the boundaries of your property. Here are three circumstances when you should contact a surveyor:
1. Contact a Surveyor When Buying Property:
- Only a map of the survey made by a Licensed Land Surveyor can define what you’ve purchased, City GIS maps are unreliable.
- A Surveyor will determine whether other people are entitled to partial use of your property through easements for utilities or rights-of-way.
- A Surveyor can determine whether fences, trees, buildings, building overhangs, gardens, driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, house additions, and other property improvements lie on your property
- A Surveyor will determine whether your deed accurately describes the property you occupy.
- A Surveyor can provide an updated deed description for the property you are purchasing. This will allow you (or your Lawyer) to file your deed in the County Clerk’s Office, thereby registering the transaction and preserving your property rights in the future.
- Since a survey provided by the seller may be old, it may not reflect changes to the property or its boundaries. A survey protects you by bringing potential legal problems to your attention so you can address them before you make your purchase.
- A Surveyor can mark the corners of your property with permanent monuments so you will always be aware of your legal property lines.
2. Contact a Surveyor Before Building or Adding an Addition to Your House or Making Permanent Improvements:
- Many towns require a certified plot plan delineating the proposed structure in relation to the property lines.
- You want to make sure you are building on your property. Mistakenly building on a neighbor’s property can cause legal problems and extra construction costs.
- A Surveyor can mark the location of proposed buildings so that you are sure they are on your property and meet all local setback requirements and zoning restrictions.
- In case of a dispute, your Surveyor can act as an expert witness and will assume professional responsibility for your survey in court.
3. Contact a Surveyor When Subdividing Property:
- Your Surveyor will survey the site and draft a proposed subdivision plan
- Your Surveyor will check and note planning restrictions, easements, and other legalities for your subdivision (for example wetland delineation and mapping issues, minimum lot sizes, and setbacks, etc.).
- Your Surveyor can engage other consultants to carry out preliminary studies, Engineering, planning, and environmental issues to submit with the draft subdivision plan – and ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws.
- Your Surveyor can represent you and your project at Planning, Building, Zoning, and Town & County Board meetings, if required.
- Your Surveyor will prepare final subdivision plans.
- Retaining a Surveyor will give your buyers and clients confidence in the purchase of your property, or one of the lots in your subdivision.
If you have any other questions relating to residential land survey, give us a call at 603-627-5500. We are happy to be a resource.