> Where is My Property?
> The Surveyor and the Survey


“The brush was thick and dense,
The description made no sense,
When asked why it was,
They said, it’s because
We didn’t know where to commence”

Good descriptions must satisfy the needs of several professions with different interests: The attorney, the title insurer, the land surveyor, the government official and the land owner; and therefore, are difficult to write. The varied educational and professional background of all persons writing and using descriptions almost precludes the use of highly technical terms of any one profession. But, the lack of technical terms with precise meanings for the descriptions would almost certainly result in long winded ambiguous descriptions. For this reason, it is essential that description writers use correctly the language of the surveying profession. (metes and bounds descriptions; Fant, Freeman and Madson)

For the new property owner, the link between the deed description and the reality of standing in his yard is the survey. When there is obvious physical possession, such as fences, walls, and hedge and tree rows (all indicated on the survey) the new owner becomes secure with the knowledge of “where his property is”. On the other hand, when there is no obvious physical possession, the owner sometimes feels that the survey he paid for should also have included a “stake-out” marking his boundaries. For this reason, there exists much misunderstanding of what exactly a survey should and should not include.

The survey taken, to assist in the conveyance of title, does not require a “stake-out”. In fact, the “stake-out” survey is a completely separate entity. Land surveying, as is with every area of our society, is burdened by the constraining factors of time and money. Given the shorter commitment time by banks recently, along with the ever rising closing costs; the “ stake-out “ survey is becoming more and more an expensive luxury unless new construction is desired or property line disputes arise.

Inclement weather combined with amount of daylight obviously are factors which weigh heavily upon the speed in which a survey may be completed. A stake-out will most certainly slow the process by requiring additional field time and possibly extra field trips. Therefore, we suggest stake-outs be arranged directly by the new property owner a convenient time after the closing.

Additionally, we have frequently encountered a problem unique to “stake-outs”. Often when the “stake-out” is done at the time of the title survey and the normal time lag before the closing occurs; the new owner moves in only to find the stakes have been removed. The surveyor performed the “stake-out”, the buyer paid for the “stake-out”, but the stakes are missing, therefore an unpleasant and expensive situation has been created by local vandalism.

A simple phone call to the land surveyor will answer most questions a buyer may have regarding his survey; perhaps even indicating an expensive “stake-out” unnecessary.

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