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The Ins and Outs of Land Surveys


Florida Title Company Recommends Land Surveys

You may wonder why a title company needs to know about land surveying. But having a professional land survey performed is an important step before purchasing a property, and can actually affect your title insurance.

In this post, we’ll explain what land surveying is, and why it’s important to any prospective buyer.

What is a Land Survey?
The name is fairly self-explanatory, but what does it mean to actually ‘survey the land’? Land surveying is the science of measuring and mapping the environment. And by environment, we aren’t simply referring to wide open spaces and pastoral areas. Even urban and industrial areas can be surveyed.

Surveying is about determining the dimensions and ‘dimensional relationships’ of an area. Land surveyors measure the distances, elevations, directions and angles of a specific plot of land. The first part of land surveying requires the surveyor to use specialized equipment in the field to take pictures and measurements; the second part occurs back at the office or lab, where the surveyor uses high-tech software to interpret their collected data.

Land surveys are typically used to determine property boundaries, and to make decisions about construction projects, but they can also be used in the fields of mining, tunnel building, and even ocean­floor exploration. A land survey can also take pre-existing features into account – like roads, access points, above- and below-ground utility lines, and swamps or wetlands.

There are also different types of surveys. A geodetic land survey measures a very large plot of land, and must take the earth’s curvature into account. A topographical survey looks at the vertical elevation of the plot’s surface, including any structures that may be built on it. Cadastral surveys are used to determine property boundaries between parcels of land, and are obviously the most relevant type of survey to a title insurance company.

When do I need a land survey and why does it matter?
If you are looking to buy a property to develop, a land survey is essential. The results of the survey could have an important impact on your construction plans, and aid both the architect and the foreman in planning the property development.

If you are buying a property that already has a home or building on it, a land survey can still tell you about the dimensions of the land, including the property boundaries. This could influence later decisions to carry out renovations or extensions on the property.

A land survey can be crucial if there is any dispute over the property boundaries, especially with older properties where this information may not be present in the title records. A land survey can often reveal that your neighbor’s shed is encroaching upon your land, or vice versa! In the case of a shared access road, it can also determine on whose property the road lies, and thus whose title should include an access easement.

Lastly, a professional land survey can also determine whether the current construction on the property complies with zoning laws, or if planned constructions and improvements will contravene those zoning restrictions.

In this way, having a land survey done as part of your title insurance process can be incredibly revealing and helpful – saving you time, effort, and money in the long run.