1: What is a land surveyor, and what services do New York licensed land surveyors offer?
A surveyor is more than one of those guys you see out in the road. Surveying is a vital part of the design and construction process. A land surveyor is a professional who is trained and licensed to measure, describe, and map land and the structures on it. Land surveyors use a combination of technical skills, knowledge of mathematical and physical principles, and an understanding of land-use laws and regulations to determine property boundaries and prepare legal descriptions of property. They use a variety of tools and technologies, such as total stations, GPS receivers, and computer-aided drafting software, to measure and map land and prepare survey plans and maps.
We perform boundary surveys to tell people where their property is, map the topography of land for engineering design, establish elevations of homesites for flood insurance, perform title surveys for real estate transactions, certify that structures are built according to design, lay out buildings, subdivisions and other construction projects so the construction companies can relate the engineering plans to the real world, and build control networks that all land parcels can relate to in a given area. We also map slopes and areas for pay volumes or quantities, map river bottoms for dredging, lay out photo control for aerial photography and photogrammetry, write legal descriptions that are used to describe pieces of property, map and layout corridors for tunnels, roads, airports, pipelines, cellular networks and railroads, and split up properties into new lots, such as subdivisions.
A New York Licensed Land Surveyor (LS) is a professional who uses applied mathematics and other technical and research skills to measure and plot:
- the dimensions of any portion of the earth's surface (including natural and other structures);
- the lengths and directions of boundary lines; and
- the contour of the earth's surface.
2: When would I use the services of a land surveyor?
There are many situations in which you might need to use the services of a land surveyor. Some common examples include:
- Buying or selling a property: A boundary survey is typically done when a property is being sold or transferred to ensure that the property's boundaries are accurately located and described. This can help prevent disputes over property lines and ensure that the property is being transferred with clear title.
- Building a new structure: A construction survey is typically done when a new building or other structure is being built to ensure that the structure is being built in compliance with zoning laws and building codes. The land surveyor will provide information about the location of the building on the property and ensure that the building is located on the correct spot.
- Subdividing a property: A subdivision survey is typically done when a larger parcel of land is being divided into smaller plots, which can then be sold or developed. This type of survey is typically required by local government agencies when a property is being subdivided for residential or commercial development.
- Planning a construction project: A topographic survey is typically done when a construction project is being planned. This type of survey is used to map the natural and man-made features of a property, such as buildings, roads, trees, and bodies of water. This information is used to plan the construction project, and to identify potential hazards or other issues on the property.
- Obtaining a building permit: Building permits are required by many local governments when construction is planned. A land surveyor can provide the information that is required for the building permit application, such as the location of the building on the property, and ensure that the construction project is built according to the approved plans and specifications.
- Obtaining a mortgage: Many mortgage lenders require a survey of the property before they will lend money to purchase the property. The survey is used to ensure that the property is located on the correct spot and that the boundaries are accurate.
- Resolving boundary disputes: Land surveyors can also be used to help resolve disputes over property lines. They can provide an accurate map of the property and its boundaries, which can be used as evidence in court.
These are just some examples of when you might need to use the services of a land surveyor, but there are many other situations where the services of a land surveyor may be required.
3: When must I employ a licensed land surveyor?
Generally, you will need the services of a LS anytime you need a government official's approval of survey plans (e.g., the approval of a subdivision). A LS is also required to prepare boundary surveys for property conveyances when filed with public official. These officials can only accept surveying plans stamped and signed by a land surveyor. Check with local government officials such as the county clerk's office or the planning department to determine what you are required to submit.
In New York, it is typically required by law to use a licensed land surveyor for certain types of work, such as:
- Boundary Surveys: A licensed land surveyor is typically required to perform boundary surveys, which are used to determine the exact location of a property's boundaries. This is typically done when a property is being sold or transferred, or when a building or other structure is being constructed.
- Subdivision Surveys: A licensed land surveyor is typically required to perform subdivision surveys, which are used to divide a larger parcel of land into smaller plots. This type of survey is typically required by local government agencies when a property is being subdivided for residential or commercial development.
- Construction Surveys: A licensed land surveyor is typically required to perform construction surveys, which are used to provide the information necessary for the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures. This type of survey is typically done in conjunction with a building permit application and is used to ensure that the construction project is built according to the approved plans and specifications.
- Alta/NSPS Surveys: A licensed land surveyor is typically required to perform ALTA/NSPS land title survey, which is a specific type of survey that is designed to provide detailed information about a property's boundaries, topography, and man-made features.
In general, it is required by law in New York to use a licensed land surveyor for any work that involves determining or describing property boundaries or mapping of the land, and any work that is related to the construction and development of buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures. It's important to note that not all states have the same regulations and requirements, and it's advisable to check with the local authorities and professional organizations to ensure that you are using a licensed land surveyor who is authorized to work in your area.
4: What records does my land surveyor maintain? Can anyone else get them?
New York licensed land surveyors must retain for six years all preliminary and final plans, documents, computations, records, and professional evaluations they or their employees prepared, related to the work which the licensee signed and sealed. They may not reveal personally identifiable data or information without the prior consent of the client. The client may request copies of documents from the licensee has prepared and been fully paid for.
5: What can I do to ensure a good professional relationship with my land surveyor?
Having a good professional relationship with your land surveyor can help ensure that your project is completed on time, within budget, and to your satisfaction. Here are a few things you can do to help establish and maintain a good professional relationship with your land surveyor:
- Clearly define the scope of the project: Before the survey begins, make sure you understand what the surveyor will be doing and what the final product will look like. This will help ensure that both you and the surveyor are on the same page, and that the surveyor is able to deliver the product that you need.
- Communicate effectively: Make sure that you keep in touch with the surveyor throughout the project, and that you are available to answer any questions or provide any additional information that the surveyor may need.
- Be open and honest with your surveyor: Your surveyor is here to act in your best interest, being open and honest with your surveyor with respect to your land and any problems you are facing will allow the surveyor to serve you in an effective way.
- Be responsive to requests for information: Land surveyors may need additional information or access to the property in order to complete the survey. Make sure that you are responsive to these requests and that you provide the surveyor with what they need in a timely manner.
- Understand and respect the surveyor's professional limitations: Land surveyors are trained professionals who have a specific set of skills and knowledge. Make sure that you understand and respect the surveyor's professional limitations and that you don't ask the surveyor to do something that is outside their area of expertise.
- Pay on time: Make sure that you pay the surveyor's invoices on time, as this will help to maintain a good working relationship.
- Give feedback: Give the surveyor feedback on their work, this will help them understand what you like and don't like and what areas they need to improve.
- Be respectful and professional: As in any professional relationship, it is important to be respectful and professional in all of your interactions with the surveyor. This will help to establish trust and ensure that the surveyor is motivated to do their best work for you.
By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that you have a good professional relationship with your land surveyor, which can lead to a successful project outcome.
6: What if my neighbor's property survey show that their property line appears to be on my property?
If your neighbor's property survey shows that their property line appears to be on your property, it's important to take immediate action to protect your rights. Here are a few steps you may wish to take:
- 1. Review the survey: Carefully review the survey and compare it to any previous surveys of your property. Look for any discrepancies or errors.
- 2. Consult with a land surveyor: Consider consulting with a licensed land surveyor to have your property surveyed again, this will give you a professional opinion and will provide a basis for a claim in case of a dispute.
- 3. Review property records: Look at the property records at your local land registry office and review the legal description of your property. Compare this to the survey your neighbor has provided and check for any discrepancies.
- 4.Consult with a lawyer: If you believe that your property rights are being violated, consider consulting with a lawyer who is experienced in property law. They can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process.
- 5. Communicate with your neighbor: Attempt to reach out to your neighbor and explain your concerns. They may not have realized that the property line is incorrect and may be willing to work with you to resolve the issue.
- 6. Seek mediation: If you and your neighbor are unable to come to a resolution, consider seeking mediation to help resolve the dispute. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps you and your neighbor come to an agreement on the dispute.
It's important to keep in mind that boundary disputes can be complex and may take some time to resolve. It's always best to seek professional guidance and legal advice when dealing with this kind of situation.
7: Is a Land Survey the Same as a Mortgage Inspection?
A land survey and a mortgage inspection are not the same thing, although they may have some similarities
A land survey is a detailed examination and mapping of a property's boundaries, features, and improvements. It is typically used to determine the exact location of a property's boundaries, identify any encroachments or other issues, and ensure that a property is being transferred with clear title. A land survey is typically performed by a licensed land surveyor and is usually required when buying or selling a property, building a new structure, or subdividing a property.
A mortgage inspection, also known as a property inspection, is an examination of a property's condition and systems, typically performed by a home inspector or a mortgage company representative. Its purpose is to evaluate the overall condition of the property to ensure that it meets certain standards and that it is suitable for mortgage financing. A mortgage inspection generally looks at the property's condition, including the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems.
While both a land survey and a mortgage inspection may include an examination of the property, the purpose and scope of the two are different. A land survey is focused on mapping the property's boundaries and determining its legal description, while a mortgage inspection is focused on evaluating the property's condition to determine if it is suitable for mortgage financing. A mortgage lender may require a mortgage inspection as part of the loan process, but a land survey is not a requirement for a mortgage loan, although it can be requested by the lender or the property owner.
It is important to note that only a Licensed land surveyor is authorized to prepare and alter maps which depict boundaries. It is a violation of New York State Education Law Section 7209, sub-division 2 for anyone other than a license land surveyor to alter a survey map in any way unless acting under the direct supervision of the land surveyor.
9: Are There Different Types of Surveys?
There are several types of survey services which may be offered to a client. A few of the most common are:
- Boundary Surveys: A boundary survey is used to determine the exact location of a property's boundaries. This is typically done when a property is being sold or transferred, or when a building or other structure is being constructed.
- Topographic Surveys: A topographic survey is used to map the natural and man-made features of a property, such as buildings, roads, trees, and bodies of water. This type of survey is often used to plan construction projects, or to identify potential hazards or other issues on a property.
- Subdivision Surveys: A subdivision survey is used to divide a larger parcel of land into smaller plots, which can then be sold or developed. This type of survey is typically required by local government agencies when a property is being subdivided for residential or commercial development.
- As-Built Surveys: An as-built survey is used to document the location of existing structures and features on a property after construction is complete. This type of survey is typically used to ensure that a building or other structure is constructed in compliance with zoning laws and building codes.
- Construction Surveys: A construction survey is used to provide the information necessary for the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures. This type of survey is typically done in conjunction with a building permit application and is used to ensure that the construction project is built according to the approved plans and specifications.
- Alta/NSPS Surveys: ALTA/NSPS land title survey is a specific type of survey that is designed to provide detailed information about a property's boundaries, topography, and man-made features.
10: What is a Boundary?
A property boundary is the legal line that separates one piece of property from another. It marks the extent of the land that is owned by an individual or entity, and it is used to determine who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of various features and improvements on the property. Property boundaries are typically defined by legal descriptions and maps, and they are usually established by a land surveyor.
Property boundaries are usually defined by physical features such as natural landmarks, existing fences, walls, or other man-made structures, or by legal monuments such as iron pins, concrete markers, or other types of survey markers. These markers are typically set by the land surveyor and are used to establish the exact location of the property boundary.
In some cases, property boundaries are defined by the metes and bounds method, which uses a series of linear measurements and angles to describe the shape and location of a property. In other cases, property boundaries are defined by the rectangular method, which uses a grid system of horizontal and vertical lines to describe the location of a property.
It's important to note that property boundaries can change over time, due to factors such as natural erosion, changes in the course of a river or stream, or other events. It's also possible for property boundaries to be disputed, and it may require legal action or mediation to resolve the dispute.
11: How are Boundaries Created?
Most boundaries are created by written instruments known as deed that contact specific descriptions. Property rights may also be established by unwritten means such as long-time physical occupation of land. A Professional Land Surveyor will research these factors and how they affect the boundaries of your property.