You will probably require the services of a land surveyor only a few times during your life.  The need usually arises when you buy a house, a lot, or a larger tract of land.  If you are a Lawyer, Engineer, Architect, Realtor, Developer, or work for a utility company or any state or local government agency, then you will probably need the services of a Professional Land Surveyor many times.  Since any transaction involving land represents a large and important investment, it is important that you understand the necessity for land surveying services and how they can benefit you.  We work in Eastern North Carolina.

Surveying FAQ

Land surveying is the technique and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the angle and distances between them.  These points are usually, but not always, on the surface of the Earth, and are often used to establish boundaries of ownership and create land maps.  Once these points are analyzed, the surveyor can determine how these points relate to any deeds and maps and present this information to the client.  To accomplish their objectives, land surveyors use elements of geometry, engineering, trigonometry, mathematics, physics and proper interpretation of real property law.

Before title to land is conveyed, it is desirable to have an adequate description of the property for the deed, including an accurate determination of the acreage.  It is also important to know if there are any physical features or title overlaps, which might constitute encroachments or, in some way, adversely affect the title to the land.  Only an up to date survey by a Professional Land Surveyor can give you this information.

Most North Carolina cities and counties have subdivision ordinance requirements, which must be followed.  For any subdivision, the Professional Land Surveyor can work with you to prepare the required subdivision maps.  This may be a simple procedure, but may, depending on the situation, involve any of the following:  a boundary survey, a topographical survey, site analysis, road and lot layout, road grade design, and the calculations for the necessary erosion control features.

The Professional Land Surveyor can also prepare the subdivision plat for recording, the road plan and profile maps, and the erosion control plan, usually coordinated with an engineer.  The Professional Land Surveyor can explain the requirements of the local Subdivision Ordinances and assist you in getting the necessary approvals for your development.

Before land can be improved by constructing drives, fences, walls, or buildings, it is desirable to know the location of the property corners and boundaries.  Using the services of a Professional Land Surveyor, for staking the locations of the improvements avoids possible encroachments upon adjoining property and possible litigation at a later date.  It also ensures the improvements will be constructed according to the design plans.

Before land is partitioned by a will or by Court Order, a survey of the land is needed.  In the case of a will, the boundary of the property as well as the improvements, such as buildings, roads and drives, on the property need to be located.  When the land is divided, the heirs can easily decide on the location of the new dividing lines.  Also, before the court can establish a disputed boundary line, it needs an accurate survey of the land.  The Professional Land Surveyor can provide the necessary maps.

When a question arises as to the location of a boundary line between you and your neighbor, the first thing you need to do is get an accurate boundary survey.  When the survey is completed, the Surveyor can explain the location of the boundary line.  In some cases, the surveyor can help solve the problem between you and your neighbor; at other times, the surveyor will appear in court as an expert witness on your behalf.

The Professional Land Surveyor needs your name, current address and phone number, the name of the current landowner, the Parcel Identification Number(PIN) or the property, and the Deed Book and Page number of the current deed. All of this is not required, but if you can provide it to the surveyor he / she will not have to search for it.  Any other information you have, such as deeds, wills or maps may be helpful as well.  It is not necessary for you to search for or get copies fo the neighbor’s deeds.  The Professional Land Surveyor is an expert at this research and is required to do so by the Standards of Practice.  A written authorization with a retainer may be required for certain surveys before the land surveyor will begin your survey.

Our professional fee includes time to search for deeds, maps, court records, or any other related documents needed, time to find and locate physical boundary evidence on the property, perform necessary computations to compare how field evidence compares to deed records, place appropriate markers on the property as needed, coordinate governmental approvals as needed, and prepare a survey map or survey report as needed.

The cost of any survey will vary due to disturbed or missing boundary evidence, size of tract to be surveyed, disputed boundary lines, gaps or overlaps created from old deed description, poor deed descriptions, rough terrain, heavy underbrush, amount of governmental approvals required, and travel time to and from the property.  There are many varying conditions that can effect a project, therefore it is difficult to predict an exact cost for any project prior to doing any work.  Many of these same conditions can also effect how long it takes to complete a project.  If your project has a deadline, please let us know and we can advise you as needed.

The largest investment that most people make is their home or land, therefore, you should have a survey completed on your property or the property you are buying to insure that you are getting what you are buying.  Each landowner should also be aware of where their property boundaries are in order to protect their property from encroachments, trespassing or any adverse possession claims.  Too many times people opt out of the option for a survey and end up with boundary and legal problems that can cost far more than the cost of a survey upfront.

No, but it is a good idea to notify them.  They can express any concerns or questions they have about the property line early on and it can often diffuse any future boundary issues between neighbors.

This is a common misconception that a Professional Land Surveyor can “move” property lines according to who they are working for.  Professional Land Surveyors cannot and do not ‘take away’ or ‘give’ land to anyone.  Property lines are based upon legal records like deeds, court records and maps.  Conflicts sometimes arise when recorded documents and descriptions do not agree with the way the property has been occupied.  Many properties have been occupied and built on throughout the years without the benefit of a proper survey.  By law, the courts have the authority to change boundary lines to match the occupied lines, but land surveyors may not do this.  The Professional Land Surveyor establishes the boundary lines according to the record description, but in doing so the lines may depart from actual occupation lines to give the appearance that the surveyor changed the boundary line.

The first thing you should do is talk to the surveyor that did the survey.  Most of the time misunderstandings can be resolved by talking to the surveyor and seeing the evidence the surveyor found and how that compares to record descriptions.

Most surveyors use reference marks for their equipment while surveying a particular property.  These reference marks can be nails, iron stakes, iron pipes, etc., but most of the time they are of a temporary nature.  Surveyors use these reference points to set up their equipment on to locate points that are needed.  There is no reason to be alarmed if you notice these reference points on your property or your neighbor’s property.  Most of the time the only person that these reference points mean anything to is the land surveyor surveying the property.

When a survey is performed on a property, there can be many reasons why your surveyor needs to locate things that are not on your property.  North Carolina law requires surveyors to tie surveys to certain reference points.  Also, you property corners are verified by locating your neighbor’s corners and comparing this information to recorded deeds and maps.  In cases where your property corners are missing or disturbed, then it is necessary to locate adjoining property corners to determine the proper location of you corners.

When it is determined that a land survey is needed, only a Professional Land Surveyor, licensed by the North Carolina State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, is legally permitted to survey land in North Carolina.  Every Professional Land Surveyor MUST follow the requirements listed in the “Standards of Practice for Land Surveying in North Carolina.”  The State Board publishes these standards and the Professional Land Surveyor can provide you a copy upon request.  The Standards of Practice lists everything the land surveyor MUST do during a survey and what MUST appear on the final survey map. The Professional Land Surveyor is also required each year to complete continuing education courses and comply with all laws set forth by the State Board of Registration.

It is best to select a Professional Land Surveyor by qualifications.  A well-qualified land surveyor will take the time to ask you about your needs for the survey.  The surveyor will then explain what is required to complete your survey, and will answer all of your questions in a helpful manner so that you understand the process.

When selecting a Professional Land Surveyor, just like any other professional service, you should choose the surveyor that you have good communication with, are very comfortable and confident in their work, and the surveyor who you feel is most qualified to do the job.


What is Land Surveying?

When is a survey usually required?

What does the Professional Land Surveyor need from you?

How much will my survey cost and why does it cost that much?

Why do I need a survey?

Do I have to notify my neighbor that I am having a survey done?

Do land surveyors change boundaries between adjoining parcels?

What if I disagree with a survey?

What is that nail for?

Why are you surveying on my neighbor’s property also?

How do you select a Professional Land Surveyor?

If you have any other questions, please contact us and we will help in any way we can.