Licensed professional land surveyors determine where your property ends and a neighbor's abutting lands begin. They can guarantee their work and make land transactions legally binding.
The highly trained professionals carrying out this dispute-settling, argument-ending, nerve-soothing work are licensed land surveyors.
The completed survey forms part of the title, which is protected by title insurance. The cost of a land survey is usually worth every penny.
The national average for title insurance is $463, with a range of costs from $75 to $950, depending on location, terrain (swamps and ravines are harder to survey than pastureland), and complexity of the job.
A surveyor will note improvements on the property since the last survey. Using a total station theodolite (TST) — that fancy measuring tool you see on a tripod when land surveyors are at work — licensed, professional land surveyors also measure angles, distances and terrain elevation. Ownership of a total station theodolite is not a qualification for being a licensed land surveyor.
If you cannot find online reviews about a land surveyor near you the state's professional licensing board can be a good place to check. Another source is the National Council for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) which issues land survey licenses. Be certain the surveyor carries insurance. Ask for recent references, and be sure they are familiar with your property's type of terrain.