By Daniel Ojala, Down Cape Engineering

If you are considering purchasing land, a home, or installing a fence, septic system or other improvements, it is important to retain the services of a Professional Land Surveyor.  A Registered Professional Land Surveyor will locate the boundaries of a property and can plot any proposed construction, renovations or other property improvements to assure that they are positioned accurately, preventing potential problems which can cost you both time and money.

A Professional Land Surveyor can identify the legal boundaries of the lot and can prepare a plan of your property showing existing monuments (markers) and/or stake the lot corners/lines to ensure all work remains within the boundaries.  The surveyor can also prepare a plot plan showing your existing dwelling in relation to the lot lines.  This type of plan is especially useful when contemplating an addition or when upgrading a septic system.  A professional survey crew often uses state of the art robotic and GPS surveying equipment for data collection for accuracy and efficiency.

When should a piece of property be surveyed?

1) Before you buy, sell or subdivide land, you may obtain a survey to ensure that what you are buying or selling is within the parameters of the legal description, and whether there are any encroachments or overlaps with abutting owners.  Knowing the accurate locations of the property lines will help the process go more smoothly for both buyer and seller.

2) Before construction on any project begins, a survey will ensure you that your new improvements such as septic systems, additions, sheds or driveways are being placed within your property boundaries and meet your town’s setback requirements.  A topographic survey is also an important consideration for drainage planning.  Do not rely on your building contractor to determine your construction location in relation to your property lines.  A survey may also be required prior to the issuance of a building permit, or sometimes after construction is finished, proper planning prevents errors from occurring.

3) If you suspect the location of your neighbor’s improvements may be encroaching, a survey will provide evidence of the location of the trespass in relation to the property line, on unregistered land, longstanding encroachments can create property rights, so a land use attorney should be consulted if the surveyor discovers encroachments.

4) During the mortgage origination process, your lender will typically order a Mortgage Inspection Plan.  This plot plan is not typically prepared from an instrument survey and should not be used for any other purposes than to verify to your lender the approximate dimensions of the lot and if there is a dwelling present.

Land construction projects require a major financial investment so it is important that all land ownership boundaries be properly identified, marked and mapped by a Professional Land Surveyor.  It is a smart investment which can save you time and money to assure your land or improvement project is properly defined.

Dan Ojala, owner of Down Cape Engineering, may be reached at 508-362-4541.

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