There are several situations where you may need the professional services of a land surveyor. A survey is recommended when buying a new property, dividing your existing property, making improvements on your property, adjusting a boundary line, determining the location of your boundary lines, solving boundary disputes with a neighbor, preparing a letter of map amendment (LOMA) for flood-prone properties, or preparing a site plan for a planning board permit. Good boundaries make good neighbors.
Here are some reasons you may need a surveyor:
- The land will be bought: Buyers are encouraged to have property surveyed to prevent future disputes about its boundaries, especially when buying a small parcel recently split from a large parcel. If the purchase is being financed, the lender will require a survey to protect its interest in the property.
- The land will be divided: When a large parcel is divided, whether into two parcels or a multi-lot subdivision, a survey shows the legal boundaries of the new, smaller parcels and additional features such as a road or utility easement into the property.
- The land will be developed: If you own vacant land and intend to improve it in any way, including building on it, the land might have to be surveyed to establish its boundaries, so that any improvement meets setback requirements. A setback refers to how far off the boundary or lot line the improvement must be. For example, a county might require that homes be built at least 20 feet off the property line (a 20-foot setback).
- Improvements will be made to previously developed land: If you’re adding structures such as a master suite, garage, deck, or fence to an existing home, a survey will demonstrate that the new additions meet setback requirements.
- Boundaries are in dispute: Disputes arise over many issues, such as whether a fence is on the wrong side of the property line or a deck doesn’t meet setback requirements. These disputes are settled using a legal survey of the property.