When existing and reliable boundary markers are not evident and where longstanding features such as fences, hedges, retaining walls and the like do not indicate physical boundaries, a boundary survey may be advisable. This is particularly so where erecting significant improvements, removing trees or other such activity is being considered.
The cost of a survey is driven by the size of the property, the terrain, the vegetation, the consistency and clarity of the deed and the proximity within which a particular surveyor has worked relative to the subject property.
That depends, first, on how long the physical features involved have been in place and, second, the disposition of the adjoining property owners.
When marking property boundaries, surveyors are marking the boundary of record–that is, the boundary based on the legal descriptions in the deeds. Many (thankfully not most) legal descriptions were written by unqualified persons, there being no regulations prohibiting the practice in many jurisdictions. In other cases, improvements are erected without the benefit of a survey and, therefore, without a reliable positional reference.
Our laws respect the fact that most people purchase real property based on the physical attributes they can readily observe, including the use and improvements. Therefore, longstanding physical improvements, typically in excess of ten years old, generally trump boundaries of record where the two differ.
In deference to the law, it is our policy to refrain from setting markers at odds with physical boundaries unless exceptional circumstances call for the same.
Some property owners are content to remain casual about their property lines. This is perfectly acceptable where there is ample room no inclination by either party to change the status quo. On the other hand, boundary line agreements are an excellent way to resolve obscure or otherwise defective property lines. Of crucial importance is full and equal disclosure to all parties and good will. Anxiety over property lines, if allowed to grow into conflict, can be a vortex for litigation.
Topographic surveys involve accurately measuring and mapping the physical features of a site. They typically include contours showing the terrain, buildings and other fixtures, significant trees and utilities. Where applicable, they also show wetlands and/or other environmentally sensitive areas, easements and other features impacting a site’s development potential. Where the terrain is varied and/or where the landowner desires to save particular trees or capitalize on particular attributes such as views, water features, etc., a topographic survey is indispensable. We issue topographic surveys in both traditional hard copy and digital formats.