If you're buying a piece of land with the intention of building your dream home, an office, or an industrial building, a licensed surveyor can help ensure the property is in order, with the correct boundary lines, size, ownership, etc.
A surveyor can be as important as your real estate agent in the transaction. Without a surveyor, you could run into difficulties in the future if you decide to divide the land, sell, or expand or if you have neighbours who dispute the property line.
Here are the key duties of land surveyors:
Inspect the Property
A surveyor will come and physically inspect your entire property. They will have information and charts/photos from past titles/sales that will give them the boundary lines and property specifications. They will ensure that the physical inspection matches the information they already have. In the event you want to divide the land in the future (to give to a family member, for example) they will come back and inspect the property again using the same process.
Although your real estate lawyer will ultimately take care of title issues, land surveyors will check the title and make sure there are no errors. This can happen occasionally, particularly with older properties that have not changed hands often. If there are issues with the title, and/or boundary lines, your lawyer will get involved and work to resolve the issue.
Prepare the Survey
A survey is a pictorial representation of your property which clearly shows boundary lines, measurements and other pertinent data like trees and fences. Along with the picture, a written report is created that outlines the boundary lines and total area of the property. This survey is your proof of your property lines, should a neighbour or future buyer dispute the size of the property and/or boundaries.
Choosing a Surveyor
Not all land surveyors are created equal, so it's important to select one that has experience in the type of property you're purchasing (i.e. farm, industrial, commercial, etc.).You can search online for a qualified professional or you can ask your real estate agent for their recommendation. They have a network of professionals at the ready in case you need them. The rates will vary depending on the type of surveyor you hire and how large your property is. Don't skip this step, thinking that you can save a few dollars. If you don't hire a land surveyor and you get into a dispute later on, you will have nothing to back up your claims regarding your boundary lines. You will have to hire a surveyor at that point, and that may end up costing you even more money.