Consumer's Guide to Land Surveying
Why are Land Surveys Necessary?
Land surveys are made for several reasons. They can be made in order to determine the correct location of land boundaries with respect to deed descriptions. They can also inform you of the area of the land described, and any physical encroachments onto the property, or onto any adjacent property. It may also establish new lines dividing your land into smaller parcels if you so desire, or represent the topography of the land.
Types of surveys can include:
When do I Need a Land Survey?A land survey is usually needed:
Who Can Tell Me if I Need a Surveyor?In many cases, landowners first contact their local planning board or building official where they may be informed of the need for surveying services. Often, these authorities are looking for confirmation that laws and ordinances will permit the landowner to proceed with their development plan. A Professional Land Surveyor can perform the services that are being asked for, such as:
Why Should I use a Professional Land Surveyor?
South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) 43-18-1 states: "No survey of land or plat subdivision shall be legal unless made by a registered land surveyor." SDCL 36-18a-8 further states that no person may practice or offer to practice land surveying unless the person is licensed by the South Dakota Board of Technical Professions.
Where do I Find a Professional Surveyor?For names and addresses of practicing land surveyors in your area, you may consult the yellow pages of your telephone directory under SURVEYORS, LAND. A list of members of the South Dakota Society of Professional Land Surveyors may be obtained upon request.
When securing the services of a Registered Land Surveyor, you need not visit their place of business. You may transmit your order by telephone, fax, e-mail or by letter. The surveyor will need to know the legal description of the property you wish to have surveyed, and the type of survey required, or the specific purpose of the survey.
How do I Determine their Qualifications?
All land surveys made in the State of South Dakota are required by law to be made by a surveyor registered in the state. This means they have passed the examination and experience requirements set by the South Dakota Board of Technical Professions, and have received a license to practice land surveying.
What Will a Land Survey Cost?
Buying or Selling a Home?Especially important to buyers or sellers of developed property is the question:
"Will you need a boundary survey? or an Improvement Location Exhibit?"
Buyers of homes expect a flurry of paperwork and signatures upon "closing" a mortgage loan. Often, in the confusion of paperwork, the question of "survey" is left answered by either the lending institution or the seller - and they may not have the best interests of the buyer in mind.
Standard Purchase Agreement Language May Read as Follows:Survey: buyer to select one of the following:
*Improvement Location Exhibit (surveyor's fee to be paid by seller)
Purpose is to provide a representation of the information gathered at the time of inspection. It is based on existing but not confirmed boundary evidence and is subject to any inaccuracies that a boundary survey might reveal. No property corners will be set and no warranty as to the location of the true boundary of the subject property is extended to the present or future owners or occupants.
*Boundary Survey and Improvement Location Exhibit (surveyor's fee to be paid by seller, however the monetary difference between a location exhibit and a boundary survey shall be paid by the buyer)
Purpose is to provide verified boundary information as the basis for the improvement location exhibit.
A Boundary Survey and Improvement Location Exhibit usually provides:
Sometimes, home buyers may find themselves faced with the "re-use" of an Improvement Location Exhibit prepared at some point in the past and in possession of the owner or lender.
Caution must be exercised in this practice, since the Land Surveyor's certificate is only reliable as to the date of survey and with an original seal and signature, and probably does not extend into the future where building additions may have been constructed, fences built or moved, etc.
Relying on a "re-used" Improvement Location Exhibit is not relying on the opinion of a disinterested third party.