When do I need a land survey?
Investing in your property by knowing and marking your boundaries is a good idea, especially to avoid any future conflicts regarding the use of your land.
These are a few reasons why you want to have a survey performed:
To be sure of what you are buying prior to completing the purchase of a home or piece of property
Before you sell you home or land to insure prospective buyers that they are receiving what they are buying
You want to divide your property into smaller parcels
You want to construct a building, fence or other improvements
To help resolve a boundary line dispute
Can I determine in advance what the charge will be?
In most cases it will not be possible to get more than an estimate, because many of the factors involved in the survey are indeterminable early in the process. Final cost is dependent upon the time required to perform research to obtain the necessary information of record, to perform preliminary fieldwork, to perform the required office computations, and to monument your lines on the ground. Most surveyors will prepare an estimate based on their experience in estimating hours of work (times their hourly fee schedules) which can be used as a basis for a written contract. (Information from Clackamas County Surveyor)
Several factors may impact the price of a land survey, including:
what is the type of property (commercial, residential, etc.)
where is the property located
how old are the land records pertaining to your property
are existing land records complete and accurate
what size is the property (in town lot or 500 acres)
how much development has occurred on the property
what will the land be used for
what information does the survey need to include
how much vegetation and grade change on the site
(Information from Meridian Surveys)
Should I employ a Surveyor on the basis of price?
Not necessarily. Competency, service and responsibility are of first importance. Since low cost and high quality are often inconsistent, and judging the amount of work necessary to produce a quality survey may be difficult before the project begins, it is probably unreasonable to expect your surveyor to "bid" on a project, then stick to the bid price. (Information from Clackamas County Surveyor)
Always consider qualifications and if a surveyor is licensed to work in the state. To search for an Oregon state license number, click here. As any other profession, references and past projects are a good indicator. Price is not the sole indicator of the quality of work a surveyor may do for you. A land surveyor acts on the behalf of the public and may appear for you in planning commission meetings or in a court of law. Surveyors often communicate with your neighbors on your behalf. Make sure you are comfortable with the surveyor you hire, and that you both have a clear understanding of what you're trying to accomplish. Make sure to clearly define the scope of work by clarifying goals and expectations. (Information from PLSO)
Will the Surveyor show me what I own?
Surveyors do not prove ownership, but he/she will give you their professional opinion of what the records and facts indicate your ownership to be. This opinion is satisfactory under most normal circumstances. Only a court of law can determine ownership more decisively than a qualified Land Surveyor. (Information from Clackamas County Surveyor)