Are current surveys more "accurate than a survey from 20 / 30 years ago ???

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Joel in Morrow, Georgia

83 months ago

Surveying today is more accurate than it was 20-30 years ago. As technology advances, so does surveying. You can achieve better results with todays surveying tools as apposed to 20 years ago...with or without GPS.

I'm sure their are companies out there that will "tweak" the bounds of a property to fit the clients needs. This is not common though as its very unprofessional...not to mention illegal.

You'd be surprised how a better survey can effect a properties acreage. A few seconds/minutes 100ths/tenths +/- can go a long ways.

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Allison in Roseville, California

81 months ago

You say 'if the original monuments are found undisturbed, they hold as correct, not the measurements as recorded'.... where would I find if that is the "rule" here in California.
In a conversation with my surveyor, he mentioned this as a fact, but was unable to tell me where to research it in the state codes, etc. Any hints??

[QUOTE]If the current surveyor found the monuments undisturbed that were set originally (rebar, iron pins, etc.), then his/her measurements of the area are probably more precise and closer to correct (no one can say exactly what the correct measurement is; It is IMPOSSIBLE to be exact in surveying(that's why there are standards in professional surveying)). Also, if the rules are the same as Indiana, if the original monuments are found udisturbed, they hold as correct, not the measurements as recorded, so if the original surveyor set the monuments, but couldn't measure worth a darn, then it's probably not actually 1.01 ac as recorded.

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Mark in Rapid City, South Dakota

81 months ago

Allison,

Try Gordon v Booker, 97 Cal. 586 (1892)

Mark

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Allison in Roseville, California

81 months ago

Thank you very much, Mark!! With that clue I was able to go directly to some case citation that I can use in court to back up all the other 'evidence' that I have. I had searched before but was not finding exactly what I needed. I have an idiot of a neighbor. ;-}
Again...many thanks!
Allison

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Michael J. Walters PLS in Sacramento, California

79 months ago

Brian in Furlong, Pennsylvania said: This may be a strange question. At a recent public meeting, a Civil engineer stood up and suggested that a property in our area that is listed as 1.01 acres is actually .9959 acres.

Even though the original survey from 1976 shows the lot as 1.01 acre and so do 5 or 6 separate surveys done by different engineers in the mid 80's, 2002 and 2005.

This current civil engineer states that "it's not really an exact thing" ... (What??? I thought it "kind of was"). He goes on to state that modern technology (I'm guessing GPS even though he did not mention this), makes it possible to be more accurate.

Is this true?? I've gotten many surveys on properties that I've owned and many times, the surveyors actually would hit an original iron pin that was buried deep in the soil from a previous survey ! I'd say that's pretty darn accurate.

I was just curious if someone could give me some info on this or let me know if this guy is full of B.S. At 1.01 acres, the property next door (that the same owner still owns) has a septic system that encroaches on this 1.01 acre property and I suspect this is why he wants the other lot to "mysteriously" come in at .9959 now. The smaller size just "misses" the neighboring sand mound.

Any thoughts??

Although technology is better than ever, in my opinion, the boundaries established from such technology do not necessarily yield a more accurate result. It all boils down to "proper procedures", which, if not followed, will yield questionable results. I have retraced hundreds, if not thousands of surveys in California only to find some of the most accurate of them to have been done with transit and chain. GPS and electronic total stations used today are GREAT TOOLS, and if used properly, will yield great accuracies, however, if not, garbage in-garbage out.
The markers found (if original, undisturbed, and called for on the property survey, will hold.

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Wm Bollinger SIT in Herrin, Illinois

78 months ago

It's my understanding that the size of a lot is determined by the legal description in the deed and it is the surveyors roll to re-establish the boundary based on the legal description. In Illinois the legal descriptions usually have distance measurements associated with them, be it a parcel or a lot in an addition. Also, in Illinois area is the least controlling measurement. The size of a parcel shouldn't change based on how recent a survey is done.

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Jack Chiles in Spring, Texas

70 months ago

Actually, every time a parcel or tract is resurveyed, the surveyor performing his task is trying to relocate, or failing to do so, reestablish (reset) the property corners in their ORIGINAL POSITIONS. Say he finds all of the corners and they are undisturbed (very unusual, to say the least) and he measures their spatial relationships with the other corners he found. He computes their positions and makes a report (plat or drawing), calculates the acreage and states it on said drawing. Now, it might be different than the originally calculated area, ot it might not. As surveyors we are allowed a certain positional tolerance (think of it as a corcle with the found corner being the radius point). Here in Texas, that tolerance is a tenth of a foot (1.25 inches), roughly. A surveyors work performed in 1948 will not be as precise as the work of a modern-day surveyor. The technology has changed tremendously. With that in mind, a small parcel, such as an acre or less, may have been surveyed as precisely as, or perhaps even more precisely, than one done today. Why, you ask. The technology today is more applicable to longer measurements over larger areas. A correctly calibrated chain and a plumb bob are just as accurate as the most expensive equipment made. The problem with the chain and plumb bob is that they are only as accurate as Electronic Distance Measuring (EDM's) tools for short distances. The time and effort needed to traverse long distances with a chain and plumb bob is exponentially greater than the effort with the equipment of today. Remember, the equipment we use was made (ultimately) by us and we are flawed. Therefore, our equipment is also flawed. No two surveyors will always measure the same distances and angles as another. This is why we usually have differences in acreage, even though the tract really hasn't changed.

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Jacob in KC in Lees Summit, Missouri

60 months ago

The house behind my house was recently sold and the new owner is in the process of building a fence. The property was recently surveyed and I just found our that the previous owner of my home placed a couple of the sprinkler heads the beyond the recently marked property line. I live in Kansas City, the neighbor's property was surveyed by a local company with years of experience. I am in the process of asking the new neighbor to see if he can move a couple of the fence posts 1-foot into his property to free and clear my sprinklers. Is there a point for me to have my property survey when it appears that the surveyor found the appropriate monuments? What do you think?

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pls5528 in Rocklin, California

60 months ago

Frankly, I think you are making a big thing out of nothing. What happened to the days that neighbors can talk about small tater issues like this and work it out. If it's a big deal to you, move the sprinklers in a bit (plastic moves fairly easy).

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Jacob in KC in Lees Summit, Missouri

60 months ago

Thanks pls5528 in Rocklin, I got it resolved by talking with my new neighbor. I ended up moving the sprinklers because the fence was installed the same day I spoke with my neighbor. He offered to pay 30% of the cost of moving the sprinkler heads. Thanks for the comment.

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pls5528 in Rocklin, California

60 months ago

You are most welcome. I am so glad it worked out, and perhaps (as neighbors) you may be good friends.

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Lance in Findlay, Ohio

60 months ago

Brian in Furlong, Pennsylvania said: This may be a strange question. At a recent public meeting, a Civil engineer stood up and suggested that a property in our area that is listed as 1.01 acres is actually .9959 acres.

Even though the original survey from 1976 shows the lot as 1.01 acre and so do 5 or 6 separate surveys done by different engineers in the mid 80's, 2002 and 2005.

This current civil engineer states that "it's not really an exact thing" ... (What??? I thought it "kind of was"). He goes on to state that modern technology (I'm guessing GPS even though he did not mention this), makes it possible to be more accurate.

Is this true?? I've gotten many surveys on properties that I've owned and many times, the surveyors actually would hit an original iron pin that was buried deep in the soil from a previous survey ! I'd say that's pretty darn accurate.

I was just curious if someone could give me some info on this or let me know if this guy is full of B.S. At 1.01 acres, the property next door (that the same owner still owns) has a septic system that encroaches on this 1.01 acre property and I suspect this is why he wants the other lot to "mysteriously" come in at .9959 now. The smaller size just "misses" the neighboring sand mound.

Any thoughts??

I can assure you that boundary surveying is NOT an exact science. Many factors come into play,such as human error, different interpretations of deeds and legal descriptions over the years,etc.

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Phil Mould in Fort Myers, Florida

58 months ago

Brian in Furlong, Pennsylvania said: This may be a strange question. At a recent public meeting, a Civil engineer stood up and suggested that a property in our area that is listed as 1.01 acres is actually .9959 acres.

Even though the original survey from 1976 shows the lot as 1.01 acre and so do 5 or 6 separate surveys done by different engineers in the mid 80's, 2002 and 2005.

This current civil engineer states that "it's not really an exact thing" ... (What??? I thought it "kind of was"). He goes on to state that modern technology (I'm guessing GPS even though he did not mention this), makes it possible to be more accurate.

Is this true?? I've gotten many surveys on properties that I've owned and many times, the surveyors actually would hit an original iron pin that was buried deep in the soil from a previous survey ! I'd say that's pretty darn accurate.

I was just curious if someone could give me some info on this or let me know if this guy is full of B.S. At 1.01 acres, the property next door (that the same owner still owns) has a septic system that encroaches on this 1.01 acre property and I suspect this is why he wants the other lot to "mysteriously" come in at .9959 now. The smaller size just "misses" the neighboring sand mound.

Any thoughts??

What you are supposed to do is use the same like/ kind of equipment and retrace the boundary's as originally set. Using GPS will not provide the same results and they are also subject to error. Many firms use GPS, but very few can talk educated about how it works and the math needed and used to compute a fix. What they were supposed to do is see if they can plot the provided legal description to the ground points and show deviation. I can assure you if we went to court the judge will go with conventional theodolite (turned angles and distance) over GPS. Do not get me wrong GPS is a great land survey tool. It is not the only tool. So much is missed by "leapfrogging" a GPS rover.

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Neal in Sacramento, California

56 months ago

There is nothing wrong with using GPS, "conventional" surveying methods or resorting to a mule and chain to retrace a boundary. There is nothing by law that says you have to use the exact same methods the original surveyor used. That would be absurd. What makes all the difference as previously stated by other intelligent surveyors is that the equipment is used properly and proper adjustment methods are used in the office. Monuments of record stand such as a pipe, tree or whatever was recorded. If you notice, the exact method of the original surveyor is not recorded. Therefore, I would submit that it would be nearly impossible to retrace by exact methods even if you wanted to. Also, if the original surveyor used a Leica total station, which one?

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pipeline surveyor

56 months ago

ive noticed nobodys talking about wheres the jobs anymore, was hearing alot of gripes about pipeline and everybodies getting laid off and fired, and in the last 6 onths everythings quiet, ive tried every place to find the jobs and got nothing. maybe all your complaing was just b.s. and now everybodys quiet cuz they want to keep it quiet to save they're own jobs. what up with this?

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A scientist in Tucson, Arizona

54 months ago

Do you know of any research that measured survey accuracy under any conditions? Thanks!

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Barbara in Cape Coral in North Fort Myers, Florida

53 months ago

What do you suggest doing about a next door neighbor who moved a fence over your property line? According to my survey done in 1999 there is an encroachment. According to a survey I pulled at City Hall on his property done in 2003 he is legal. How are issues resolved when two surveys don't match?

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Joe in Cape Coral, Florida

52 months ago

It's possible one or both of the surveys are incorrect. How much is the encroachment? Field crews sometimes measure fences in different places, such as placing the prism on top of the fence, at the base, to the side, etc. Sloppy, but common practice like this can make locations change between surveys if its a small distance, but that's just speculation until we know the encroachment distance, and is just one of a hundred possibilities of why the 2 maps are different.

I'm local to you and can take a look at the 2 surveys, if you'd like.

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RAV in New Port Richey, Florida

52 months ago

Jacob in KC in Lees Summit, Missouri said: The house behind my house was recently sold and the new owner is in the process of building a fence. The property was recently surveyed and I just found our that the previous owner of my home placed a couple of the sprinkler heads the beyond the recently marked property line. I live in Kansas City , the neighbor's property was surveyed by a local company with years of experience. I am in the process of asking the new neighbor to see if he can move a couple of the fence posts 1-foot into his property to free and clear my sprinklers. Is there a point for me to have my property survey when it appears that the surveyor found the appropriate monuments? What do you think?

A fence can not be built on the property line. As parts of it would overstep the bounds. Local Zoning regulations should cover this. However if you disagree with the survey that places the fence "on your property" then you need to hire a surveyor to check it. Your next step would be the challenge the location of the fence with the local building officials as a permit should have been issued. Failure to do so could result in adverse possession if indeed the fence is placed on your property.

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HappyFeet in Los Angeles, California

46 months ago

Hoping someone can help me. I purchased property in 2008 and I am now having issues with my neighbor in the back. When I moved into the house there was no fence built in the backyard between the two garages. The garages and an existing accessory room that was built is what actually divides the two properties and the garage. Neighbor now wants to build a fence and the space between the two garages is approximately about 1 and 1/2 feet. He claims that the end of my garage is the end of my property line and wants to build fence there but there has never been a fence for over 25 years. I actually have lived next door to my current home for 25 years so that is how i have this information. Can someone please help me out.

Thank you

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rv in New Port Richey, Florida

46 months ago

HappyFeet in Los Angeles, California said: Hoping someone can help me. I purchased property in 2008 and I am now having issues with my neighbor in the back. When I moved into the house there was no fence built in the backyard between the two garages. The garages and an existing accessory room that was built is what actually divides the two properties and the garage. Neighbor now wants to build a fence and the space between the two garages is approximately about 1 and 1/2 feet. He claims that the end of my garage is the end of my property line and wants to build fence there but there has never been a fence for over 25 years. I actually have lived next door to my current home for 25 years so that is how i have this information. Can someone please help me out.

Thank you

Go to your Land Records Office and look up your deed and see if it refers to a Survey Map on file at the records office. That may give you some quick information. But this is actually a perfect example of why a Licensed Surveyor is necessary. Boundary Retracement is not somethng that should be left to a homeowner. Find a good mid-price range Surveyor that has well maintained trucks and equipment and hire him to resolve the issue. Also ask your realtor or Lawyer for a professional referal.

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524 in Montgomery, Texas

36 months ago

Joel in Morrow, Georgia said: Surveying today is more accurate than it was 20-30 years ago. As technology advances, so does surveying. You can achieve better results with todays surveying tools as apposed to 20 years ago...with or without GPS.

I'm sure their are companies out there that will "tweak" the bounds of a property to fit the clients needs. This is not common though as its very unprofessional...not to mention illegal.

You'd be surprised how a better survey can effect a properties acreage. A few seconds/minutes 100ths/tenths +/- can go a long ways.

it all depends on who is operating the equipment and running the crew

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M Hummel in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

35 months ago

Brian in Furlong, Pennsylvania said: This may be a strange question. At a recent public meeting, a Civil engineer stood up and suggested that a property in our area that is listed as 1.01 acres is actually .9959 acres.

Even though the original survey from 1976 shows the lot as 1.01 acre and so do 5 or 6 separate surveys done by different engineers in the mid 80's, 2002 and 2005.

This current civil engineer states that "it's not really an exact thing" ... (What??? I thought it "kind of was"). He goes on to state that modern technology (I'm guessing GPS even though he did not mention this), makes it possible to be more accurate.

Is this true?? I've gotten many surveys on properties that I've owned and many times, the surveyors actually would hit an original iron pin that was buried deep in the soil from a previous survey ! I'd say that's pretty darn accurate.

I was just curious if someone could give me some info on this or let me know if this guy is full of B.S. At 1.01 acres, the property next door (that the same owner still owns) has a septic system that encroaches on this 1.01 acre property and I suspect this is why he wants the other lot to "mysteriously" come in at .9959 now. The smaller size just "misses" the neighboring sand mound.

Any thoughts??

First off, where did the engineer get the acreage of the parcel, from a tax map, survey/deed or description? Many times tax accessors have an acreage that only heaven knows where that number came from if it isn't in the deed.

Secondly, the difference between 1.01 acres and 0.9959 acres is slightly more than 600 sq. ft. On a parcel of land 208 feet square (1 acre) that means you could be out 3 feet on one side of the parcel you are surveying.
For the engineer to take the acreage out to 4 decimal places he is saying that he is within 4 square feet of any variance in that acreage. Personally I never go greater than hundreths of an acre and if I must I disclaim the heck out of it.

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Susie in Ballwin, Missouri

35 months ago

There is a fence built between my house and the other house over twenty years ago. The owner who built the house this house has changed hands two more times. The fence they built is still in place. The third home owner who has lived there for ten years, know thinks that the retaining wall we built on our side of the property is 0.5-1.0 inches on his property. Two different surveys with two different results. Retaining wall was in when he moved in. Any suggestions or help

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Stephen in Tupelo, Mississippi

35 months ago

HELP!!! Just bought 6.63 acres of land in the country. My new neighbors are complaining that I am on his property by about 50 ft. which will come out to about half an acre in the long run. Well we just had the land surveyed about 4 months ago. We paid $2500 an acre. The section that they are complaining about is worthless just an old drive with a huge ditch in it. The taxes are cheap about $45 a year. But if the surveyor got it wrong by over 50ft. what can I do? If it is that far off it cost me about $1250 to much. He says he has a survey that shows the line where he says and I have one where I say it is. HELP!!

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PLS in Louisville, Kentucky

34 months ago

@ Stephen
Contact an attorney, or tell your neighbor to get a surveyor to complete a survey of his/her property. Hopefully you had a well qualified individual as your surveyor. Correct deed research and understanding monumentation (corners) is key. Anyone can go out and lay out deed dimensions with a calculator. It takes a good knowledge of boundary law to be a good surveyor and unfortunately being licensed as a surveyor doesn't make you a "GOOD" surveyor.
If your surveyor seems to be in error, contact the board of registration for engineers and land surveyors for the state of Mississippi and file a complaint.

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RAV

34 months ago

Stephen in Tupelo, Mississippi said: HELP!!! Just bought 6.63 acres of land in the country. My new neighbors are complaining that I am on his property by about 50 ft. which will come out to about half an acre in the long run. Well we just had the land surveyed about 4 months ago. We paid $2500 an acre. The section that they are complaining about is worthless just an old drive with a huge ditch in it. The taxes are cheap about $45 a year. But if the surveyor got it wrong by over 50ft. what can I do? If it is that far off it cost me about $1250 to much. He says he has a survey that shows the line where he says and I have one where I say it is. HELP!!

First of all I would advise you NOT to file a complaint with your licensing board and don’t fly off the handle or shoot from the hip. My second piece of advice is; have your survey filed with the land records office at your Town Hall or where ever deeds and plats are filed. My third piece of advice is; sit down with your surveyor and ask him to show you previous surveys on file that abut your property and have him walk you through his retracement.
It is common for people to misunderstand a plat and accurately relate that information to a property corner. I have also seen instances where property owners actually move corners. Then they stand on them and say “see here is my corner and you are trespassing”. I would first sit down with the surveyor that you commissioned and explain your concerns to him. Point out that there is an issue with an abutter and ask him to explain to you how he arrived at his retracement. He may appreciate that your approach as not confrontational and give you all the assistance you need in understanding your survey. You may want to explore with him some additional work setting out property corners. If your neighbor then removes or alters those corners then there a other legal avenues that you can undertake. I don’t know what they are in Mississippi.
Local surveyors ar

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Gagal in Southwest Brevard Cnty, Florida

34 months ago

HELP!! I have had two surveys done in six months. They don't even agree!! My deed has measurements that do not match what the surveyor marked in 1990. The lot was split off from a piece for family property at that time. Now my cousin has built a "reclaimed" fence along the side and it is on my property IF I get to own the property described in the deed. The difference in the survey measurements on one side is 1.6 feet (or .6 feet according to the second survey) and on the back side it is 4.49 feet (or 4.15 feet on the second one). The length of the property line is 250 feet. So we are talking about a considerable amount of land.
I retained an attorney when I had the first survey done to get the dilapadated fence removed. The second survey was the lawyer's suggestion to back-up the first one.
Which will stand up in court...the measurements in my deed or what a surveyor put on the ground???

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RAV

34 months ago

Gagal in Southwest Brevard Cnty, Florida said: HELP!! I have had two surveys done in six months. They don't even agree!! My deed has measurements that do not match what the surveyor marked in 1990. The lot was split off from a piece for family property at that time. Now my cousin has built a "reclaimed" fence along the side and it is on my property IF I get to own the property described in the deed. The difference in the survey measurements on one side is 1.6 feet (or .6 feet according to the second survey) and on the back side it is 4.49 feet (or 4.15 feet on the second one). The length of the property line is 250 feet. So we are talking about a considerable amount of land.
I retained an attorney when I had the first survey done to get the dilapadated fence removed. The second survey was the lawyer's suggestion to back-up the first one.
Which will stand up in court...the measurements in my deed or what a surveyor put on the ground???

The Warrantee Deed. Provided that the descriptions are in fact Bearing and Distance from a point. If they describe features or are ambiguous then that can be a problem.

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Gagal in Southwest Brevard Cnty, Florida

34 months ago

Thanks!

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brooks in Grand Rapids, Michigan

34 months ago

I recently purchased 48acres +/- out of town, and part of the purchase agreement was 1. a warrantee deed and 2. a staked survey. Well, the survey was never done- even thought the seller signed off that it was, and after much hassle, I was able to get it completed this past week. The new survey just came in- and it's 1.36 acres short! Every property line was 11' to 24' short of the survey for the advertised sale. The same company did both surveys- and the seller's portion they kept for themselves came up perfectly matched, but every one of my property lines was short.

How is it possible that the surveys could be so different?! Should I ask for a new survey from a different company? This is more than a $5,000 loss :(

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wtd in Antioch, California

34 months ago

THe question here in NOT 'Which survey is correct?' - the question is 'Why don't the two surveys from the same surveyor match?' - so no need to pay for another one, won't answer the question.

Take the 2 surveys to another surveyor and ask for an opinion as to why these surveys don't agree - much cheaper than another survey and it's really what you need at this point. You don't need more data, you need to sort out the data you have.

Once you have that opinion - possibly something actionable against the first surveyor - you'll be able to make a decision.

If there is something actionable against the first surveyor, based on the opinion of the second surveyor, then you'll need a third survey and can pursue a claim against the surveyor. Cost of the new survey would be in any claim against the first surveyor.

To get another survey first would put you out of pocket for the new survey and no closer to the answer to the question 'why don't these two surveys match?'. You'd just have another question - 'How come none of these three surveys match?'

Just a note - normally surveys will vary slightly, but yours disagree by more than 2% which is pretty well out of the 'acceptable' range.

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brooks in Grand Rapids, Michigan

34 months ago

wtd in Antioch, California said: THe question here in NOT 'Which survey is correct?' - the question is 'Why don't the two surveys from the same surveyor match?' - so no need to pay for another one, won't answer the question.

Take the 2 surveys to another surveyor and ask for an opinion as to why these surveys don't agree - much cheaper than another survey and it's really what you need at this point. You don't need more data, you need to sort out the data you have.

Once you have that opinion - possibly something actionable against the first surveyor - you'll be able to make a decision.

If there is something actionable against the first surveyor, based on the opinion of the second surveyor, then you'll need a third survey and can pursue a claim against the surveyor. Cost of the new survey would be in any claim against the first surveyor.

To get another survey first would put you out of pocket for the new survey and no closer to the answer to the question 'why don't these two surveys match?'. You'd just have another question - 'How come none of these three surveys match?'

Just a note - normally surveys will vary slightly, but yours disagree by more than 2% which is pretty well out of the 'acceptable' range.

Thank you!
One more question- of which I can't seem to find an answer:
1. How much variance is allowed "+/-", standard?
Looking back at the legal property discription on the deed, each property line is followed by those words. The surveying company stated that the first survey- for the land division- was based on the deed description, not an actually staked survey.

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wtd in California

34 months ago

Well, that makes a differnce.

THe variance isn't really 'set' or 'standard' - mostly it depends on what people are willing to fight for :)
It's a situational kind of thing, depends on the value of the land, the size of the parcel, occupational lines and such.

For example - if your town required you to have say, 6000 square feet to be able to build a house on your lot and one survey showed 6,002 sq. ft and a second survey showed 5,999 sq. ft that would be a very small variation, but would be significant.

If, on the other hand you had a 600 acre parcel for cattle grazing and you lost 10 acres, well, the only real result is your cows have to graze a foot or two short of where the deed says they can graze - no big deal.

Existing property corners and occupational lines and how long they've been accepted make a great difference. If a new owner gets their parcel staked and shows a neighbor's fence a foot onto their property and it's been accepted by everyone for 20 or 30 years or whatever - probably nothing would come of that. Everybody thought the yard only went to the fence this long - what's the big deal now?

One survey I did out here in CA the property corners were about 150' out of position - owners on both sides had accepted that since the middle 1800's, built fences and outbuildings using those corners - those corners were allowed to stand and the only thing anybody got out of it was a new idea about how much acreage they had.

Sorry so windy - but anyhow, with your two surveys being 'different', one a paper survey and another an actual survey - I guess in the second survey corners were recovered and they'll rule the day - so long as nothing of significance comes of it, i.e. your house is now in your neighbor's yard, etc. This isn't really that unusual and normally the physical monuments will govern, all other things being equal.

In short, accepted physical monuments will take precedence over deed calls generally.

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Jen in Palm Bay, Florida

33 months ago

I am also having a boundary dispute with a neighbor. I recently bought a house and have owned it for a year. The house next door was bought 6 months ago. The new neighbors say my driveway is on their property by over four feet and has asked me to move my driveway. They are going to put up a fence and it will begin in the middle of my driveway. My survey and their survey do not agree. They were both done within three months of each other. How can I know which survey to go by and can they make me move a driveway that has been used for 25 years (paved for the last ten)? The new owner called this into question even before she bought the property which is how I found out about her survey and how it doesn't agree with mine. I am afraid that one day I will come home to a fence built right through my driveway.
Recently my neighbor had a new survey done. I found a new pin marked with an orange band and orange flag next to my driveway. According to this mark, my driveway may be over their property up to 18 inches for about 30 feet. I was willing to "trim" the driveway. When I showed this to my neighbor he said that I was incorrect. That the new survey mark at the end of my driveway is off by four feet. This is his new survey mark. He is unwilling to show me where the survey suggests our boundary line is and says I need to get another one. However, I know from the previous responses there is no guarantee that they will agree this time either. What should I do?

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Jen in Palm Bay, Florida

33 months ago

Yes the survey that I currently have is 11years old. I do not believe there is a right of way for the driveway or an easement but this driveway has been used since the house was originally built 27 years ago and the driveway was paved 10 years ago. There is no knowledge of any issue of "encroaching" in the history of the property according to the previous owners account. He owned the property for 10 years and the driveway was put in soon after he purchased it. After completing a survey he paved the dirt driveway that had been in place since the original owner 25 years ago.

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wtd in California

33 months ago

Jen in Palm Bay, Florida said: I am also having a boundary dispute ...

I probably wouldn't sweat this too much.
This happened -
[quote]Recently my neighbor had a new survey done. I found a new pin marked with an orange band and orange flag next to my driveway.

But yet -
[quote]
When I showed this to my neighbor he said that I was incorrect. That the new survey mark at the end of my driveway is off by four feet.

Says who?

You've got an iron pin, set by a licensed surveyor and your neighbor simply says it's wrong.
I think I'd rely on the pin.
Some comfort might be taken in that the fence installer will too.
When the fence installer shows up, walks to the pin and gets ready to start work and the neighbor walks four feet into your yard and says 'No - start here', the fence installer's gonna have a problem with that.
So I wouldn't worry about coming home to find the neighbor's fence in your driveway ;)
If your neighbor's so sure he's right, have him show you the 'correct' pin at the property corner.
Sounds like you've been as reasonable as could be, offering to trim your driveway - I'd stick to that until he can actually put his finger of some type of monumentation that shows a different location for the property corner.

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Heri in Kenner, Louisiana

29 months ago

I purchased a lot in a subdivision 19 years ago. In order to build my home, a survey was done and submitted with the plans to the city, permit granted. The survey was done both before and after the slab foundations were poured. The lots behind and to the left were vacant, undeveloped. Near the completion of the house, we had a 10 inch wide retaining wall poured on 3 sides with its outermost edges two inches inside our property lines as established and staked by the surveyor. We erected a 6 ft wood fence on the retaining wall. A neighbor abutting one side of my property (second owner of the adjacent property since it was built) has stated that he is going to make me tear out my 295 feet of retaining wall and force me to erect a new fence because his survey says I am on his property. My initial survey was what both the city and my contractor relied upon when we built. If surveys can change or differ, what good are they? Are people suppose to move their retaining walls, fences, garages, etc. every time a new survey is done? He has raised the elevation of his property ABOVE my retaining wall, so it is below his ground level. Even if my survey is incorrect, It could not possibly be more than one inch over the line as I have a 5 foot servitude for the utility company and to move in any would interfere with the servitude and the utility company's access to their equipment. Is there a way for me to see a copy of HIS survey? Attempts have been made to discuss this with the adjacent neighbor to no avail. I would like to settle this but if surveys change from survey to survey and can not be relied upon, what good are they?

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wtd in California

29 months ago

First-I wouldn't worry too much. We've had nasty neighbors as long as we've had lot surveys :-).

If your neighbor is a second owner he may be relying on a 'paper survey' assembled from available public records just for property transfer purposes and aren't actually boundary surveys. It's not unusual for them to disagree with what's actually in the field.

Is your property - and your survey - monumented with pipes or other physical objects marking the corners that you can find and identify? If so take your neighbor out and rub his nose in them and rely on them. They carry the most weight in any property survey.

Ask your neighbor, if y'all are on speaking terms, to take you to his property corners and show them to you and if he can't ask him how he 'knows' you're encroaching.

If no physical cormer markers exist and your neighbor intends to take action against you - trying to make you move improvements, etc., he'll have to have more than a 'paper survey' to base it on - he'll actually have to get a lot survey and have his corners actually set in the ground.

In simple terms, he can't simply stand there with a picture in his hand, point to your wall and say 'That's in the wrong place'. He has to be able to point to something in the ground that marks the corner.

Most nasty neighbors 'come around' after realizing that it's more than just pointing at your wall and saying it's wrong, that they'll actually have to get a 'real survey', etc. and they consult a surveyor and find all this out.

Worst case, he's an idiot over an inch and does get the survey done and it shows your improvements over his line and takes you to court over it, the court normally works in favor of the 'accepted boundary' rather than the mathmatic boundary, adjacent property owner's who've improved up to and accepted what they think is the boundary is usually accepted as the boundary as long as no harm's done. This happens all the time and not many walls are actually moved.

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mateau in Tampa, Florida

29 months ago

Physical evidence in a first survey has precedence. If the evidence is there and it conforms to the first survey then build your fence.

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mateau in Tampa, Florida

29 months ago

Adverse possession is interpreted in not so funny ways. If you have a shared driveway that is not deeded but has been in common use for 27 years then chances are you have a shared driveway and your neighbor can not take that away from you. This is an instance where you really should find a good Engineering / Surveying FIRM who will support your position of adverse possesion through the courts. Tell them up front what the deal is and ask them if they have worked with legal representation in the past regarding the issue that you are bringing them. Also work this from the other end. Interview law firms willing to take property law cases and get a referral for a retracement survey. Prepare to dig in for the long haul.

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mateau in Tampa, Florida

29 months ago

Your neighbor purchased his property with your retaining wall already established. If in fact your retaining wall oversteps your bounds, it has for 19 years. 19 years is long enough to establish adverse possession. If in fact your retaining wall does not overstep your bounds then his backfill is on your property and should be removed.

If you really don't care than have a new survey performed to establish the retaining wall as the recognised property line. This is simply a property line adjustment and should end the problem.

Or just do nothing and this will probably go away as your neighbor probably won't want to spend any money to gain a negligible advantage. It sounds like he just wants to kvetch.

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Heri in Kenner, Louisiana

29 months ago

I am pretty sure I can locate the monuments in the front but since I moved my retaining wall 2 inches inside of the property line, the rear ones now reside inside the yard(s) of neighbors. If my surveyor was incorrect, I am guessing they would be UNDER my retaining wall. I have pictures that show the forms for the retaining wall with the orange flagged rods OUTSIDE of the forms. The certified, licensed surveyor that did my survey is now deceased and his firm was sold. I contacted the new firm by phone to learn this and was informed that they did not have any of his notes. They offered to prepare a new survey for me for an estimated cost of $550 but it would probably not agree with my original since the technology has changed over the past 19 years. My first objection with that is I can't afford it. Secondly, why get a survey done that may not support my position. If a survey is only an opinion, then why would ANY survey be considered valid as long as someone has one that differs. I could say the same of the neighbor's survey. His is only an opinion? Further research online seems to hold that the validity of his might carry more weight since there were more monuments and newer technology at the time his was prepared. The survey company I called said that I could not rely upon the rods placed at the time of my survey as they could have been moved and no longer have validity. The survey company has no interest in doing anything but collect more money from me and hold that only a new survey could determine the true boundary lines.

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wtd in California

29 months ago

Heri in Kenner, Louisiana said: I am pretty sure I can locate the monuments in the front but since I moved my retaining wall 2 inches inside of the property line, the rear ones now reside inside the yard(s) of neighbors. If my surveyor was incorrect, I am guessing they would be UNDER my retaining wall. I have pictures that show the forms for the retaining wall with the orange flagged rods OUTSIDE of the forms. The certified, licensed surveyor that did my survey is now deceased and his firm was sold. I contacted the new firm by phone to learn this and was informed that they did not have any of his notes. They offered to prepare a new survey for me for an estimated cost of $550 but it would probably not agree with my original since the technology has changed over the past 19 years. My first objection with that is I can't afford it. Secondly, why get a survey done that may not support my position. If a survey is only an opinion, then why would ANY survey be considered valid as long as someone has one that differs. I could say the same of the neighbor's survey. His is only an opinion? Further research online seems to hold that the validity of his might carry more weight since there were more monuments and newer technology at the time his was prepared. The survey company I called said that I could not rely upon the rods placed at the time of my survey as they could have been moved and no longer have validity. The survey company has no interest in doing anything but collect more money from me and hold that only a new survey could determine the true boundary lines.

===========================================
For goodness sakes don't get another survey! You've not done anything that requires any action - your neighbor has. If he wants to show that your wall's in the wrong place - make HIM show YOU!.
There's no burden on you here at all.
You're absolutely right about the new survey company. If you ever need a survey, find a different one.

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Heri in Kenner, Louisiana

29 months ago

The neighbor purchased the house 9 years ago and had NO fencing other than MY fence which my survey of 19 years ago shows INSIDE my property lines. Not long after they moved in, they installed an in-ground pool necessitating that their property be enclosed. Instead of being grateful that a fence already existed to the rear, and they need only fence along their sides, instead of grateful, they became hateful. We got along very well until they installed a garden along the backside of my fence. It is built up much higher than my retaining wall and they basically made a retaining wall out of my fence. Mud and water constantly come onto my property. I asked them very politely to remove the mud from my retaining wall and the vegetation that was growing through, over, and under my fence. Their vegetation began pushing my fence boards off the rails and I replaced 9 of them. I actually got an estimate from a fence company, planning to replace my fence totally at MY cost last year but did not want to have them ruin a NEW fence. That idea was put on hold for the past year waiting for them to act neighborly. Their roots grow between the fence boards and the rails, trunks wrap around my fence posts, their watering system keeps the lower portion of the fence boards constantly wet. I asked again, not as politely as last year, for some coopertion. None. I began (with the city's permission) to trim the lower portion of the boards in an attempt to get the boards out of their wet mud and have space to place some concrete blocks to heighten my retaining wall. That is when things got nasty. They called the city on me stating I had no right to trim the fence. My fence is now in need of being removed. If I took my fence down, they would be required to put one up due to the pool. There is no more communication between us. That is no longer an option and they have made that abundantly clear. I would like to settle this like rational adults and neighbors.

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Heri in Kenner, Louisiana

29 months ago

mateau in Tampa, Florida said: Your neighbor purchased his property with your retaining wall already established. If in fact your retaining wall oversteps your bounds, it has for 19 years. 19 years is long enough to establish adverse possession. If in fact your retaining wall does not overstep your bounds then his backfill is on your property and should be removed.

If you really don't care than have a new survey performed to establish the retaining wall as the recognised property line. This is simply a property line adjustment and should end the problem.

Or just do nothing and this will probably go away as your neighbor probably won't want to spend any money to gain a negligible advantage. It sounds like he just wants to kvetch.

Thank you for ALL your comments. They are greatly appreciated.

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Heri in Kenner, Louisiana

29 months ago

wtd in California said: ===========================================
For goodness sakes don't get another survey! You've not done anything that requires any action - your neighbor has. If he wants to show that your wall's in the wrong place - make HIM show YOU!.
There's no burden on you here at all.
You're absolutely right about the new survey company. If you ever need a survey, find a different one.

You made my day. Thanks so much for your comment.

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Heri in Kenner, Louisiana

29 months ago

wtd in California said: ===========================================
For goodness sakes don't get another survey! You've not done anything that requires any action - your neighbor has. If he wants to show that your wall's in the wrong place - make HIM show YOU!.
There's no burden on you here at all.
You're absolutely right about the new survey company. If you ever need a survey, find a different one.

Thanks. I have read many of your comments not only to my questions but to others as well and you are extremely helpful.

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mateau in Tampa, Florida

29 months ago

Heri in Kenner, Louisiana said: Thanks. I have read many of your comments not only to my questions but to others as well and you are extremely helpful.

I should have explained what a Boundary Adjustment is. That is when you and your neighbor agree to adjust the property line with the help of a survey. This survey gets filed and new deeds are written to reflect the change. Generally this is by agreement and expenses are shared. However if you and your neighbor can not agree to this then do nothing. It's up to him to act.

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Heri in Kenner, Louisiana

29 months ago

I do not believe the neighbors would be willing to agree to anything. They will not even discuss the matter with me. I have made several attempts to handle the situation in an adult neighborly fashion to no avail. Thanks for the information.

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