Surveying your property prevents unforeseen problems
Unless you're selling your property, knowing the precise dimensions of your boundaries probably doesn't seem too important, especially if you like your neighbors. However, that's exactly the reason to engage a survey – to stop disputes before they happen.
Survey anatomy 101
While most property owners simply think of property boundaries when it comes to surveys, that view is far too bi-dimensional. Surveys assess and define all the characteristics of a property, including any improvements.
In Florida, physical surveys are executed by surveyors licensed by the state. A surveyor's duties include visiting the property to make a record of the information about the parcel. The information gathered on-site is then compared with records filed at the county recorder's office in preparation for the final survey document.
Surveyors use GPS, computer-aided drafting (CAD), laser scanning techniques, and robotic survey systems (RSS), along with their professional expertise to garner an assessment of the property. Within that assessment, the surveyor will also determine if the property is in compliance with state, local, and federal laws.
The information you should expect to see on a survey includes:
- Boundary line encroachments and right of way locations
- Boundary line details
- Easement access pathways
- Utility locations
- Road right of way locations
- Improvement descriptions, locations, and proximities from each other and proper boundaries
Why surveys are so important
In a manner of speaking, surveys are knowledge recorded. The more knowledgeable you are about your property, the less likely you are to end up in a dispute.
Of course, obtaining knowledge about why surveys are so important isn't exempt from the power of information. With empowerment as our objective, here's a quick list of motives behind obtaining a survey of your property.
- Establish your perimeter. Whether it's in the process of selling a home or installing a fence, boundary disputes are much more common than most people realize. A certified survey can be used in a court of law as an expert description of the property, including its perimeter.
- Easement location. Any renovations to the property will need to be mindful of how they affect access to certain parts of the property. This access is known as an easement. Some easements, such as light poles, or fire hydrants, are considered obvious, but still, need to be identified. Underground utilities – water and gas pipes, electrical lines, etc. – and other hidden easements are also noted in surveys.
- Water. While streams and ponds are more apparent on a property, underground waterways and aquifers aren't always so self-evident. Surveys can point out how these features might affect construction projects, property value, and other legal considerations.
- Legal obligations. Property owners are sometimes surprised to find out their responsibilities affect their neighbor. For example, certain “joint” driveways can impose a legal obligation for both neighbors to keep their side of the driveway properly maintained. Surveys can assess all aspects of the property that might require further consideration or professional inspections.
What if you live on a golf course? Florida law has an interesting answer
In Florida, if your property line is up against a golf course, you may not have the same rights as you would otherwise. While a survey will tell you if you're bordering a golf course, our blog, “No Trespassing, Except to Retrieve Golf Balls: Florida's Interesting Legal Take on Property Law and Golfers” will help you understand what it means if your survey results come back on the affirmative.
The attorneys at PeytonBolin understand real estate law and how it can affect property owners. Contact us today to see how can help guide you through complex legal issues you may be facing.