Community Forums

[Solved] Ongoing Survey  

Page 1 / 3 Next



First let me say that I'm not a surveyor. I didn't read any rules against posting here, but I know it is mostly surveyors posting. Hoping to get some guidance with a messy situation we have going on.

We had a surveyor come out last year and mark our property lines. He seemed very knowledgeable and marked everything based on our pins he was able to locate. We were aware it was not a legal survey, and was cheap as a result. We just needed a general idea since we moved in and neighbors didn't know for sure. This surveyor could not locate one corner post, but advised where it should be near based on calculations.

A couple of months ago I sent a check for the deposit to get the legal survey started. In the meantime, our neighbor hired a survey who came out and surveyed the line between us and said neighbor. He did not survey or mark the whole property, just this one line. Last week he came and marked control points which were almost identical to where our surveyor marked. However, this week he came and moved pins that now say "property line" over about 20 feet on our side of the property. Their surveyor also replaced the pin in the road which was the neighbors true point of beginning, and the pin that our surveyor couldn't locate during the first run. It is over much further on our side than expected based on previous conversation with our surveyor, which I believe is accounting for the shortage per the deed. My husband and I got out our measuring tape and tried measuring out where their property line is, but it shorts our deed by about 20 feet in width all the way back the the back marker (this line is 728 feet back).

My husband is a mechanical engineer, I am an accountant. We aren't trying to say that the other surveyor our neighbor hired is wrong, but we want to understand mathematically.  

I wouldn't be worried but now we have fencing on "their property" and the neighbor is being extremely hostile towards us. Our surveyor is currently reaching out to theirs to (i assume) mitigate the differences, but I'm just wondering what to expect. All the surveyors we spoke with made it seem like it was more of an ordeal to replace a property corner, and we would be notified beforehand. 


Since you "sent a check for the deposit to get the legal survey started", I would let the 2 surveyors figure out where your common line is, then have your Surveyor fully explain it to you. They should know your local laws and practices. one gets out alive!

Thanks! I'm just hoping that it happens quickly since the neighbor is being so hostile. I'm trying not to contact our surveyor every few minutes while the neighbor is outside running up and down the fence line kicking it now that new stakes are up by his surveyor. It is making me anxious though. I'm thinking that there may be overlapping property boundaries that our surveyor doesn't want to discuss with us before speaking with the other surveyor, as he advised we really don't want to get attorneys and courts involved unless we absolutely have to. 


So you hired a cheap "Surveyor" who sounded like he knew what he was doing, to give you an idea where your property line is, now that the property line moved 20 feet, you are no longer happy with going cheap?

As One cup o joe said, let the License Surveyor you just hired figure it out.  If the first "Surveyor" did not give you a stamped surveyor, his opinion on where the property line is, well you could have hired anyone to show up and say hey this looks like the property line. 

What State are you in? Each State has its own Boundary Laws.

Scott - I am in Indiana. 

The cheap surveyor was a licensed surveyor, and he is the one that is also doing the "legal survey" now. I just had to pay him more to do the legal survey which is in progress currently. It seems my surveyor may be a lot busier than the one that my neighbor hired as he was much quicker to complete the survey and place a new stake in the road. I may not have my terms correct as I don't know the lingo to be honest. I'm honestly not even sure if the neighbor just paid this guy to mark his property lines, or if it is a legal survey. I'm assuming it has to be a legal survey for him to replace corner pins.

The problem was that a corner pin was missing, and now it has been placed by the surveyor that the neighbor hired. I'm concerned as now when we measure the front it doesn't add up at all to the length that the deed references. I was under the impression for new boundaries to be set the entire property would have to be surveyed (not just one line) and that neighbors would be notified. Multiple surveyors had advised me of this when getting quotes, and now there is a new pin in the road within a day. I'm definitely not trying to be confrontational, but I want to understand how the neighbor would gain land and us lose land when pins are being set that were missing. 


There are any number of reasons a line can be different than what you expect. Let the two Surveyors put their heads together and see what they come up with. In the meantime...

I'm not sure what State you are in. There arent any I know of that allow 'cheap and unofficial' surveys. The spot you are in is exactly why. There really is no point in talking down to you for not knowing that. Many Surveyors havent figueed it out either.

At the end of the day you and your neighbor are the ones who will fix the problem. Don't let Mr. Cheap n Easy put you in a spot where you both drain your resources only to live next to somebody you now hate. You were living with the fence before the surveyors got there. Sit down and work it out.


Thank you! I am hoping we can sit down and just figure it out. I'm not sure why the neighbor is so hostile, but hoping once this is all figured out we'll move past it. We are happy that he got the survey as we actually encouraged that they get one as well. I would rather this be a once and done ordeal than strung out over many months/years/etc. 

Also, I'm not sure our surveyors first visit is an actual survey. He was assisting us with locating our current property corners so we would know where the lines are. He did locate 3 of the 4 corners.

iGage Static GPS - GNSS Receivers


The reason is you are basing your distances from a Survey that is not signed or Stamped, and maybe the neighbor has a signed survey maybe they don't maybe he put the corner in the road. Ask to see a copy of their Survey. Until you get a signed Survey you will just have to wait and let your Surveyor answer your questions.

I do not know any License Surveyors who would do a Survey and not sign it, that should be a red flag. I would hired a Surveyor who would do it right the first time.



Thanks for the explanation. We were basing our 100 ft (this is from our deed) from our original corner post to the new corner post their surveyor put in. I'm guessing this isn't the correct measurements? I know there is a ton more to surveying than this, but just to get a general idea of understanding we were attempting to try and rationalize ourselves while we wait.

Our surveyor let us know none of his work was official until the legal survey is complete, but it is also taking quite a while due to the original property marker not being present anymore in that corner. It was supposed to be a nail in the road, but the road has been paved a few times and now a new nail has been driven into the road and sprayed with orange spray paint.

Maybe this isn't right? We paid a couple hundred dollars for our surveyor to come out and locate our corner posts the first time, and sent a few more hundred to complete the actual legal survey (which I'm assuming will be the signed survey). 


Why do you say that the fence is in their property.  Did you place the fence based on the first survey?  I am not an Indiana surveyor, but most states have some legal standing for an existing fence.  The neighbor should not damage your fence until the dispute is resolved.  Notify him, if not on your property you will relocate the fence.

1911 download20180710165732
1913 download20180710165721
1912 download20180710165727


I am saying that because the back livestock fence is for sure to the right of the markers they put out earlier based on the new corner marker in the road line. This fence has been here since before the other survey. The guy that owned the house before these neighbors was confident that our land went at least 10 more feet on his side and assisted with putting up the livestock fencing. If it is on his land that is olay and we can easily move it, but we also use the path on the right of the chainlink to haul down hay for the animals, so we will need to make some definite changes immediately if these are the actual lines. I'm still hoping to hear back from our surveyor today, but I'm guessing it'll take a few days.

iGage Static GPS - GNSS Receivers


I am not licensed in Indiana nor am I familiar with the local laws. This is just my quick thoughts before coffee.....

The problem you are dealing with, unfortunately is somewhat common though. I would suspect that your land and the adjoiner tract are somewhat related, meaning that, perhaps they were once one large tract but cut into two. When this happens Junior and Senior rights will come into play. Hypothetical...If you have a deed that claims you own 2 acres and you then sell me one acre. I then hire out a surveyor to stake the acre you sold me. Upon the field survey it is discovered that you never owned 2 acres but instead 1.75 acres, then you keep the one acre and I (Junior rights) gets what I get regardless. 

I would closely exam your "legal" survey once it is delivered and read your deed closely, and pull your neighbors deed and read it, pay attention to the dates. First in time first in rights.

You also have some other items your surveyors should consider....the existing fence and the fact that both parties were accepting it as a boundary line before some new stakes showed up. The way it is constructed (improvements out - facing your property) leads me to think he built the fence. If so, why put the fence 20 feet onto himself?

Time for some coffee...

Professional Surveyor - MO, AR, KS, KY
sUAS Certified Pilot

Be very careful assuming that scenario.

The deeds for you and the neighbor may or may not be the ones that created the parcels. The language of the creating deeds can also impact junior senior rights. In either case you would be fighting a losing battle.


@stlsurveyor are you sure your hypothetical says what you intended?

Yes and no, I guess my example wasn't too clear....sorry, not enough coffee.

If I sell you 1 acre, you get the one acre. If I sell you half, well you get half, which may not be 1 acre..

I think there was a reversal of the I and you in your original post.

Yup, it was early ☺


So many things it could be. So many details we don't know. So easy to speculate.  But I suspect that in the course of his more thorough work the 2nd surveyor found some previously unknown document buried in the record, not mentioned in your deed description, that moved the boundary by the 20 feet.   

It happens like this - Owner A and Owner B buy adjoining property, each getting a deed with a land description in it. 20 years later A sells B a 20 foot strip, giving B a deed describing that 20 foot strip. The deed gets recorded.  Another 20 years pass, and A's heir sell their property. They pull out the deed A received when he bought 40 years previously and copy the old description into the new deed (maybe they don't even know about the 20 foot sale, maybe they just forgot). Owner A2 gives the deed they just got to their surveyor, who does a quick survey without doing a really thorough search of the record - that takes time and costs money and this is a cheap and quicky survey. He doesn't know that the 20 foot deed exists. He finds pins in accordance with the deed he has in hand. He doesn't even know to look for newer pins 20 feet over and maybe there aren't any. But that 20 foot deed still exists and is still valid, and when a more thorough search of the record turns it up that surveyor comes out and moves his new pins. 

That could be, or somebody could have screwed up. Could be a lot of things. I'm speculating. Get the real scoop from the guys on the job.  

This post was modified 6 months ago 2 times by Mark Mayer

EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.

This all makes me understand the possibilities a lot more! I am trying to be patient with the surveyors for sure. It has been almost a week now so I guess if I haven't heard anything back by Tuesday afternoon I will reach back out.

By all means, reach out. But understand that everybody in this business is busy these days, and  it's the busy season in our business.

Page 1 / 3 Next
Resolve to Get Licensed - Save 15% on Almost Everything

Please Login or Register