boundary survey
It’s crucial to know for any property owner where the limits or boundaries of his/her property are. Whether you own a commercial property, a residential property, or land utilized for a specific industry, knowing its boundary lines is an essential part of property ownership. Without this basic knowledge, property disputes with neighboring property owners may arise.  In that case, you’ll need a land surveyor to perform a boundary survey for you. Before improving or building on your land, subdividing, or purchasing a property, commissioning a boundary service is crucial to resolve a boundary problem or avoid potential disputes.  For more information regarding boundary surveys, why you need one, its process, its components, and how much it costs, read this blog article. 

What is a Boundary Survey?

A boundary survey is a means to formally establish and define the property lines and corners of a parcel of land. This type of land survey also specifies the extent of any encroachments or easements and may indicate the restrictions imposed on the property by local and state regulations.  Encroachment is a general term for the utilization of a parcel of land by an individual other than the owner in violation of the property owner’s rights. An easement, on the other hand, is a nonpossessory right to enter or use another’s property as a means to access a public road or having a utility line to cross another property without actually possessing it. You can hire a land surveyor to perform a boundary survey for fence building, resolving property disputes, and acquisition of a building permit. Some title companies and mortgage lenders also require a boundary survey before financing a property purchase. Here’s an overview of the various scenarios when you need a boundary survey. 
  • Property renovation. It’s smart to conduct a boundary survey before renovating or making any additions to your property. This process helps you avoid encroaching on another’s property. This type of survey will also show outstanding easements that may hinder you from building additional features like decks or pools to your property. 
  • Construction on a property. You’ll need a boundary survey to prove that building something on your property complies with local ordinances and zoning regulations. If there are any land disputes, a boundary survey may also help resolve any issues. Plus, it helps define rights of access grants that may preclude you from constructing a new structure. 
  • Mortgage application. A boundary survey is one of the requirements when applying for a mortgage. Before your lender decides on the amount and rate of your loan, he/she needs to find out the size of the property you’re buying and its market value. 

Two Types of Boundary Surveys

There are two types of boundary surveys that you need to know before you hire a land surveyor.
  • Original survey. This type of boundary survey determines the boundary lines of a tract of land for the first time. In other words, it aims to create new boundary lines since the property has not been surveyed before. 
  • Retracement survey. This type of boundary survey tracks or retraces the results of a previous survey to locate its boundary lines. Many title companies don’t use an old boundary survey as it can be unreliable because of property updates or changes. Therefore, a retracement survey or a new boundary survey is necessary to account for these property changes. 

What is the Difference Between Boundary Surveys and Plat Surveys?

Both boundary surveys and plat surveys show the property boundaries. Their difference is that a boundary survey focuses on one parcel of land, while a plat survey deals with multiple parcels of land. A survey plat is a public document that outlines the boundaries of each parcel of land in a specific area.  Boundary surveyors determine specifically the boundary lines of a property, while plat surveyors determine not only the boundaries but also the property’s location and its topographic features.  Measurements of a boundary survey are considered to be more precise than a plat survey. Survey plats are public records that you can get at relevant government offices in your country or state. 

The Process of a Boundary Survey

The first step of a boundary survey is the measuring, marking, and mapping out of the property’s boundary lines by a professional land surveyor. Then, the surveyor will establish a traverse or control network, which is used to identify existing monuments and other proofs of boundaries. The fieldwork is the most visible stage of a boundary survey, but it’s only a part of the whole project.  Then, the next step is the research or looking through the documents relating to the land, such as deeds, title reports, maps, and easements. The surveyor may do his/her research at the Registry of Deeds, Registry of Probate, Department of Transportation, town offices, county commissioners’ offices, and historical associations.  Moreover, the surveyor may talk with the previous owners of the property and adjacent property owners regarding the property and its surrounding areas. The research is crucial to ensure that the property owner or buyer has documentary proof of the property boundaries.  The outcome of the fieldwork and research will be evaluated, and the surveyor will synthesize the data to define the boundaries of the property. A second field job is necessary to establish new markers. The final stage is the drafting of a plan, and preparation of a written report and legal description. 

Components of a Boundary Survey

When the work is done, the survey will exhibit a property plan, a legal description, notes of any markers on the property, and a written report clarifying the judgments and decisions made to establish the property’s boundaries.  The markers or monuments that help identify the property boundaries will depend on the agreement of the land surveyor and the owner or buyer of the property. Concrete monuments, wooden posts, marked trees, pipes, or iron pins may be used as markers or monuments.  Boundary surveyors will focus on the boundaries of a property and whether there are any improvements or structures that interfere with those boundaries. For example, a gutter, fence, wall, or column may sometimes cross over boundaries of a property which causes disputes.  Surveyors will also describe where infrastructures are located, for example, as on the boundary, clear of the boundary, or over the boundary.  A boundary surveyor’s scope of work will include:
  • Investigation of existing survey information, such as deeds, relevant titles, property descriptions, etc. 
  • Conducting field reconnaissance to determine the boundary lines and any related improvements on the property. 
  • Sketching a plan and writing a survey report which contains:
    • The general area and identity of the land
    • Improvements and additions
    • Location of buildings and improvements in relation to title boundaries
    • Any visible/accessible encroachments by buildings or other improvements
    • The general position or type of boundary walls, fencing, or occupations
    • Notation of existing restrictions, covenants, and leases
  • Any easements to which the property may be subject or benefiting it
  • The option of putting boundary markers

Who Can Legally Perform a Boundary Survey?

Accurate Land Surveyors, Inc. is an association of land surveyors with Cadastral Endorsement. A land surveyor who has a Cadastral Endorsement understands the laws of property ownership and has spent four years studying surveying and has gained practical experience in the profession.  If a surveyor has this endorsement, a client can guarantee that the survey will be accurate and reliable. Only licensed and registered land surveyors can legally perform and produce boundary surveys.  Among the duties of a cadastral surveyor is to define boundaries of a property, re-establish boundaries that have prior surveys, or create new boundaries in land subdivision projects. This profession also involves giving advice or interpretation of boundaries or any restrictions or rights in relation to the property.  The measurements and information produced by a cadastral survey are put into the public records of relevant government agencies in each county or state. 

What Do Boundary Surveys Cost?

The factors that influence the price of a boundary survey depend on the scope of work done by the land surveyor. Here’s an overview of the factors that affect the cost of a boundary survey. 
  • The size of the property
  • The number of individual lots that need to be surveyed
  • How many boundaries and neighboring properties
  • The number of improvements and buildings on or adjacent to the boundary
  • How accessible the survey site or its surrounding area
  • Timeframe of work
  • Deliverables or how the client wants the plan to be delivered (2D, 3D, PDF, or CAD file)
  • Whether the client requires boundary markers or a survey report


A boundary survey is necessary for mortgage applications, property renovations or additions, or prior to construction. If you need a boundary survey, hire a land surveyor who has a Cadastral Endorsement to ensure that the outcome of the work is accurate and reliable.  You can make a call now at Accurate Land Surveyors, Inc. if you’re looking for a professional that can perform a boundary survey near me. This surveying firm is one of the best in Florida with 100,000 surveys on its resume. Accurate Land Surveyors, Inc. also has a website where you can learn nuggets of information about land surveying.