Tips & Advice
What are the different types of land surveys?
There are three basic types of land surveys:
- Boundary surveys are used to establish and mark the legal boundaries of the lot.
- Mortgage surveys are used to pinpoint the parcel’s boundaries, along with the locations of any surrounding buildings or structures. Land surveys can be required by mortgage companies or banks as part of the lending process.
- Topographical surveys are used to identify features of the land, natural and man-made, such as trees (who owns or is responsible for), streams, fences and buildings. Topographical surveys might be required by governmental agencies or architects and engineers.
What is a residential surveyor?
A residential surveyor specializes in surveying residential properties. In addition to the standard property boundary identification, residential surveyors can aid in outlining improvements to the property. They can measure and map topographical features, including any easements or service entrances that cross the property and mark areas where other properties may infringe on their true boundaries. These can be especially helpful, even essential, when putting up fences, or doing additions to the house, like adding decks or pools, or deciding who pays for that line-straddling tree that just fell.
What is a land survey for?
Land surveys are used to determine the boundaries of a parcel of land, including the lines and corners of the lot. They can be used to settle disputes with neighbors, determine where fences can be put up, and can be necessary when applying for building permits or mortgage loans.
Is a land survey required during a real estate transaction?
No, a land survey is not required during a real estate transaction. However, any surveys the property owner has had done, or were done prior to their ownership that they have documentation of, must be turned over to the purchasing party. It is not a legal requirement to have a survey done, but the buyer is legally entitled to all documentation of prior surveys. Banks or lenders might require a land survey as part of the mortgage lending process. Chances are the seller of the property already has copy of any previous land surveys. Owners are required to turn any surveys over to buyers, so you don’t necessarily have to have one done.
What kind of education is required to become a land surveyor?
To become a land surveyor, you must first have a bachelor’s degree, ideally in surveying or a related major. After four years of training, candidates must pass the Fundamentals of Surveying and the Principles of Practice exams after completing training to get their license.
How much does it cost to have a property surveyed?
The cost to have a property surveyed can vary, not just on the location, but on the surveyor and the details of the project. While costs vary, you are very likely to get a survey done for around $350- $500. It’s one thing to have a basic parcel surveyed, but it’s another to have a remote piece of swampland in the middle of nowhere surveyed. The best way to know is to get quotes from licensed surveyors who know the area and the terrain and are experienced working it.
A land surveyor is a trained professional who measures properties or other parcels of land to determine their boundaries. For instance, if you had a dispute with a neighbor over where your boundaries are, like to determine where a fence would go or who owns a tree, a land surveyor could come out and take the measurements to make that determination. They can also provide topographical measurements for both natural and man-made features on the property, like a stream or a deck.
What are the different types of foundation repair methods?
There are several methods of foundation repair, based on the problem.
- Sealants and masonry patches can be used for minor foundation cracks and imperfections.
- Slab jacking is a process used for sunken foundations that raises the sinking foundation back to normal by pumping a fill material below the foundation to regain its original position. This method, as laborious as it sounds, can actually be done quickly and efficiently.
- The most severe form of foundation repair is piering, or piling, in which steel or cement piers or pilings are driven through the foundation into the ground to correct and re-stabilize the foundation. In steel-pressed piling technique, steel rods or beams are driven into the ground via a hydraulic ram to the foundation back to its normal position. In concrete-pressed piling, holes are drilled deep and filled with reinforcement materials. This is a cheaper solution, but only a short-term one.
How can foundation problems be prevented?
There are a few ways that can help decrease chances for foundation problems, and they are all water-related.
- Install quality gutters around your roof with downspouts that take the water at least 3-5 feet away from the foundation. This can prevent water from pooling around your foundation.
- Address the soil grade in your yard. Your soil type and the slope of the land are major factors in water retention and pooling. Be aware of trees and plants that affect moisture levels in the soil adjacent to the foundation. In drought conditions, consider a soaker hose around the perimeter to prevent the soil, particularly clay soil, from drying, shrinking and cracking.
- Check all plumbing and drainage properties regularly for leaks. Consider a French drain, which is an underground trench system where excess water is collected and removed.
How can you tell if a foundation has problems?
There are several signs you may have foundation problems. If your foundation is visible (you have a basement or crawlspace foundation) there will be visible evidence of cracking or crumbling. If your walls are warped, or the floor slopes, those are major indicators you foundation is sinking. If doors are hard to open or close, or get stuck, this may be a foundation problem (but could also just be a door frame issue, so don’t freak out yet). Cracks on the walls or on floor tiles are a sign. Water in the basement or crawlspace can be a definite danger sign. Warped walls or gaps between the walls and ceiling should be cause for concern. Having any of these symptoms (outside of the blatant visual evidence of a cracked or crumbling foundation) might be a warning sign, but is not necessarily proof of foundation problems. However, if you do have symptoms, you would be wise to have an inspection done. Problems like that only get worse.