Land Surveying: Estimating the Cost

land surveyor

Land surveying, in a nutshell, is the art and science of establishing or re-establishing property corners, property lines and/or boundaries. There can be different reasons why someone needs a lot surveyed.

One of the common would be to see whether a piece of land is vulnerable to flooding, to subdivide a property to sell or deed to relatives or to determine if there are any encroachments. This may happen when a neighbour disputes that you are using a piece of his lot or viceversa (for more on this, read this page).

How much does land surveying cost?

If you need to have a piece of land surveyed, first thing that may come to mind is “how much does it cost?”

There are many factors determining how much land surveying on your land would cost. The fact that this sort of service should be done by an expert contributes a lot to the overall cost of the service, but choosing a non-professional to survey your land is dangerous, and possibly illegal for the non-professional.

For this reason you should to take a good look around before settling with a surveying company. If you must work inside a particular budget, discuss this with the surveyor up-front. Many times he might manage to offer cost saving steps to get the work you need done within these cost limits.

The shape of the land should also be considered. A square or even a rectangle piece of land is somewhat easier to survey than an odd shaped parcel, or one with many different sides.

With the latter, the surveyor is required to spend more time in surveying the curves and the bends which means the cost of the service would increase. The overall measurements the land is also key factor here.

Remember that the cost of land surveying is usually proportionate to the time and effort that the land surveyor would spend on the project. If the land that you’re having surveyed isn’t accessible, or has thick vegetation, then the total price of the survey might go higher.

This is true of the weather conditions which might impact the work. Surveying in hot weather is somewhat slower to keep from putting the crew members at risk. Also, most surveying can’t be done in the rain.

When asking for a quote, bear in mind surveyors base the estimate on expected conditions at the site. These conditions could change, bringing about additional costs. Always ask about these potential additional cost scenarios.

All that being said, competitive prices are also to be expected, which is why we recommend choosing a surveyor according to his experience and reputation instead of on the price he writes on a piece of paper. Mostly it is far better to spend a good amount of money on a survey that’s well-done rather than select a company with a very “affordable” price but have the survey repeated because the results were wrong.

To sum up, it is best to discuss the expenses of the survey prior to ask the surveyor to begin with his work. It’s also advisable to receive a contract that lets you understand what is expected of the land surveyor. This is one of the most important steps in getting your land surveyed.

For a free land surveying quote, call Natchez Land Surveying at ​(601) 897-1040​ or send us a message by going here.

How Important is Land Surveying in Today’s World?

land surveying

Most of you have probably never thought about land surveying until you needed it at some point. Many of us hear about land surveying all the time but never really give it much thought.

Since an investment in land and/or a home will likely be the largest investment you will ever make in your lifetime, knowing where your property lines are becomes very important indeed.

The art of land surveying was developed centuries ago. In fact, it’s one of the oldest professions in the world. The fact that it was used by man at such an early time and is still being used now shows how important surveying is to our survival.

The Many Uses of Land Surveying

Surveying land has many uses. Boundary surveying, for instance, allows you to know where your property corners or property lines are. This is especially helpful when disputes with a neighbour or with other people arise in terms of where your property ends.

If your family wants to divide a tract of land and transfer ownership to other family members, a boundary survey is the first step to do so. If you’re having a building constructed, it is very important that you have the land surveyed to make sure that you are not encroaching onto other peoples’ property.

A mistaken building location is very expensive to fix so you might as well invest in a boundary survey to prevent this.

A topographic survey, or topo survey for short, is another important type of land surveying. A topo survey is done to locate natural and man-made features on a particular parcel of land.

A topographic survey is different in that the elevation of the land is surveyed which means it can show man-made underground features, retaining walls, utility lines and etc.

Before you start any kind of construction activity, it’s important to have a topo survey done in the area so they’ll have an accurate record of the land’s existing conditions. Yes, that spot with the new mall in the neighbourhood had to have a topo survey done first.

Now, a flood survey or flood determination – this is very important too. It isn’t evident just looking at a property whether you are at risk of flooding or not. And, in some cases, even looking at the flood maps doesn’t give you an accurate answer.

The flood survey determines the elevation of the home and compares that to the base flood elevation. This is the only way to be sure you’re not in a flood hazard zone. If you’ve just been told that you live in a flood-prone area, having that confirmed by a professional land surveyor would let you know how to best proceed.

When getting flood insurance, insurance companies would require an elevation certificate from you. A land surveyor would be able to assist you with this.

If a company wants to invest in another state, or if there is a national lender on a commercial project, they will likely need an ALTA Land Title Survey done before anything is constructed.

An ALTA Land Title Survey is a lot like a regular boundary survey except that nationally accepted ALTA Standards are used to guide the surveying effort.

Land surveying standards vary widely from state to state and an ALTA Land Title Survey is used to cut down on this variation. Also, an ALTA Land Title Survey typically is more involved than the state standards variety.

Because of this, an ALTA survey can be more anywhere from 50% to 200% more expensive than using the state standards only. If you need this type of survey, I suggest seeking an experienced land surveying company who is familiar with these additional requirements.

In summary, there are many uses for a land survey and for seeking the services of a land surveyor. If you’re unsure of your situation, consult Natchez Land Surveying at ​(601) 897-1040​ today or go to the Contact page and send us an email.

ALTA Land Title Survey: Its Value for Hotels and Motels

ALTA Land Title Survey

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Hotels, unlike many other businesses, solely rely on a high turnover of clients to survive. There can be a lot of hotels in one place, so they have to compete hard with each other in order to get more clients.

In order to do this, hotels need to constantly upgrade and renovate their facilities in order to remain competitive. With a new structure and possible new technologies, a hotel or a motel business can entice more clients.

Whenever any renovations or additions are made to the structure of a hotel, this requires funding. Commercial lenders typically require an ALTA land title survey may completed on the property and premises.

What is an ALTA Land Title Survey?

This type of survey is completed based on the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements and Accuracy Standards for ALTA/ ACSM Land Title Surveys. The guidelines for performing this survey are regularly revised by a combination of Title industry and Surveying industry professionals. The newest document is the 2011 revision.

An ALTA title survey is a lot like a boundary or a lot survey except that it’s stricter in terms of the requirements placed on the land surveyor as he or she carries out the survey in both field and office.

One of the biggest problems when upgrading a hotel (or motel) or building a new one is meeting the number of parking spaces required by local zoning codes. These zoning codes change regularly. So much so that about anytime an upgrade is done, the requirements have probably increased.

Other planning and zoning ordinances are also important. Landscaping changes, signage requirements, maybe even the zoning itself has changed. If another use is proposed, say a hotel wants to add a restaurant or bar.

These are changes that would require lots of approvals by the zoning and planning boards of most cities. An ALTA land title survey can be used to identify these new or changed requirements.

Another item that has come up recently in a lot of areas is that flood zones have encroached on areas formerly not expected to flood. This is because of more detailed studies that have been done in the past.

Increased government spending has allowed these studies to be undertaken across the nation. It would be prudent for a commercial lender to question whether a hotel or motel is located within a special flood hazard area.

Knowing that the zoning and planning conditions, as well as other physical conditions change over time, the most prudent step for a commercial lender on a hotel or motel project, or any commercial project for that matter, is to have an ALTA Land Title Survey completed by a licensed professional land surveyor.

For more questions regarding ALTA Land Title Survey, give us a call at ​(601) 897-1040​ or send us a message by clicking here.

Subdividing Land: How to Subdivide Your Property

At some point, you might decide to subdivide your property. This usually happens when an individual decides to divide it among family members as a part of their will, or when an individual wants to sell off a part of their property.

So, how do you go about subdividing land?

The first and most crucial step is to make sure that you are allowed to subdivide your land. For example, if your lot is located in an existing subdivision you may be limited to what you can do by the subdivision covenants and restrictions.

If you are in or near the city limits of a municipality then you may be restricted to what you can do by that cities subdivision regulation. Even if the city doesn’t regulate the subdivision of land, the county may. So, in my opinion, the first call should be to a land surveyor who will be familiar with the local subdivision regulations and what you can and can’t do.

land surveying

If subdividing land is permitted, the next step will probably be to have the land surveyed. If you want to divide the land into several parcels of land, you’d have to work with a surveyor to do the measurements as well as stake out the individual lots.

The surveyor will be able to determine the lot size, whether you need to build a street for access, what easements will affect the lots, and other important matters. If the land is not accessible to a common sewer system then the surveyor will also need to conduct soil and percolation testing to determine if the land is suitable for an on-site sewage system.

Once you and your surveyor are done working out a plan of development showing the entire property subdivided into lots, it’s time to plat the property. Again, depending on the local regulations, this may involve meetings with the City or County officials or commissions and possibly the local health department.

After having that approval, the plat should then be filed in the county probate office to inform them that the property is being developed and will be changed from being taxed as acreage to individual lots in the future.

If you’re subdividing a property to sell, each lot should go through a closing process or at least some preparation of deeds for the intended future owners. The plat can be referenced for this process and the surveyor can help with any legal descriptions that are needed.

It is also possible that the new owner will want to know where the property lines are located in order to place a fence or any other improvements on the property. This step should ALWAYS be done before building on the property.

As you can see, when subdividing property, it’s very important that you choose a land surveyor who has experience with these kinds of jobs. The surveyor is important in every step of this process so choose one who has the proper knowledge and experience to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Otherwise, you might have a problem with neighbors, local authorities, health departments, and future land owners. Other than spending money on a new survey, potential buyers might be turned off knowing that there are problems with the transfer of property and that they might run into additional problems in the future.

For more help in subdividing land in Natchez, AL and the surrounding Shelby County areas, call Natchez Land Surveying today at ​(601) 897-1040​

or send us a message by filling out or contact form.