While land surveys aren't a requirement when purchasing property, having a land survey provides advantages and helps you avoid confusion down the line. A land survey is essentially a detailed map of a property. The legal boundaries and other features are outlined to provide a clear picture of where your property lines begin and end.
Conducting a land survey is useful in a number of situations, such as assessing the value of a home and avoiding neighbor disputes over boundaries. Here's what you need to know if you're considering hiring a land surveyor.


There are a few types of land surveys, but the most common purpose of land surveying is to outline property boundaries. A licensed land surveyor will use your deed as a guide. While deeds include a description of property lines, these are often outdated or lack crucial information. The surveyor will physically measure the property to ensure accuracy.

Surveyors use a variety of equipment, such as global positioning systems and distance meters to map the precise property boundaries. The type of tools used will vary depending on the type of land being surveyed. 


Surveys do more than plot out property boundaries. They also help identify issues that may affect your title, such as easements. An easement is a property right that gives a non-owner the legal right to use part of the land for a limited purpose. 

This means that if you purchase a property where the neighbor has been granted an easement, your new neighbor will have a legal right to use part of your land. You'll want to know about these types of issues prior to purchasing a property.


Unlike an easement, an encroachment occurs when a non-owner uses part of the land without receiving the legal right to do so. Encroachments are the cause of significant strife between neighbors. 

If you're buying a property, then you will want to know the exact property lines so you can identify any encroachment issues. For example, a neighbor may have built a tool shed or a second garage that encroaches on your property. 

If an encroaching neighbor refuses to rectify the encroachment, then you will have to seek a court order. Having a land survey done can help you avoid the headache of encroachment issues. 


If you currently own a home and plan on adding extensions or if you purchased land and plan to build on it, then you'll need a survey to get a permit. This is typically referred to as a location survey, and the purpose is to identify your boundary lines so that you remain within them while building. You'll be able to avoid construction issues by having a snapshot of your property.


Having land surveyed prior to purchasing a property also helps you determine other problems, such as whether the land is in an area that is prone to flooding. This would affect the property value.

You can use the information from the land survey to determine whether the property value was overestimated. A survey is also useful if you plan on sub-dividing the land to sell portions or to give to relatives. 


The upfront cost of a land survey varies depending on a number of factors, including the land size, the type of terrain and the age of the land. The average cost is about $500, but you can expect to pay more for a large plot compared to a smaller one. In addition, you can expect to pay more if the land has rough terrain and lots of trees.
Pre-purchase land surveys are well worth the investment. If you have questions about cost and would like a quote, contact Dickson Builders, Inc.