People often state, “I only what to find my property corners.” This isn’t an unreasonable request, but they must understand what that actually means. There are 4 basic levels of survey work. People choose to do one level or another, depending on what they need the survey for. Often times, the cost of the work is what controls what people want. One of the issues that one must understand is that “upgrading” from one to the next isn’t as easy as a phone call. The level of field work is commensurate with the level desired. While there is some overlap from one to the next, there are elements that are not done in the lesser stages and “upgrading” after the field work was completed would require a return trip. Therefore, charged from a previous order may not discount the upgrade price. For example:
If someone wanted their corners marked, the cost may be $200. If they wanted a full survey, the cost might be $450. If they opted for the former and then later decided they needed the map and what not, my crew would have to go out and do the full survey still. Therefore, there the only credit that might be given would be $50 for making the survey go a bit smoother. The total cost to the client would be $600.
Here are the general levels of work that can be done. There are often things that can be added on, but this is just the framework.
Just marking property corners
This implies that we are not surveying the property and we are just finding the property corners and flagging them. This means that we are not getting out the survey equipment and are not verifying the corners. This also means that if the corners are not found, they are not being set. This last thing becomes an issue when you are dealing with old properties that may or may not have a single corner on it.
Inevitably, people desire more later; the want some certification or written guarantee regarding the completed work. If that work was not a full survey, there really isn’t anything that can be given, short of a receipt. Because of this, it is rare for TNLDS to “just mark corners.”
This is the process of finding, verifying, marking, and replacing (if needed) the property corners. We don’t locate the improvements and I don’t generate a survey map. A key element here is that people seem to want to go this route to save money, but later they want something from me stating that the corners are good and what not. The only thing I can give them is a survey.
Mortgage Survey (non-monumented survey)
This is a full survey, map and all, only that monuments are not replaced if they are not there. A mortgage (or non-monumented) survey may not “find” all the property corners. For example, if the rear corners of a property are extremely difficult to survey, the mortgage survey would not go after them and would reflect them as “calculated points.”
My company doesn’t do these normally. Occasionally we might in order to save the client some money. This is especially useful in mountainous regions where the cost to pursue rear property corners would increase the price of the survey well beyond a “normal” lot survey.
This is what people expect when the hire a surveyor, typically. It doesn’t include marking lines, however. It does mean we locate all known improvements and show them on a map. We also do all the corner stuff from the previous list. We also locate and show any known easements, encroachments, overlaps, gaps, etc.
Here is a chart comparing the differences between each of the types listed above.
|Elements of a survey||Property Survey||Mortgage Survey||Survey w/o map||Finding Corners|
|Verify corner “accuracy”||included||included||included||n/a|
|Replace missing corners||included||n/a||included||n/a|
|Mark property lines||additional cost||n/a||additional cost||n/a|
|Identify issues with deed/plat||included||included||included||n/a|
|Testify in court, if needed||included*||included||n/a||n/a|
Note that marking line is an additional charge. In the old days of surveying, the field work required that the crew traversed each line. Therefore, they could cut line and mark the boundary as they went (within reason). Handheld computers have made surveying easier. To take the path of least resistance and locate only the ends of the line no longer requires a mathematician. We don’t have to move down each line and because of that marking line would increase the time it takes to do the field work because we have to go down each line and that increases the cost.
*The amount of time that is included for court testimony is limited – based on each individual case. Furthermore, failure to disclose the existence of a potential dispute may nullify this “included” service.