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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. 

15 Answers

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.


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. 


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.

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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.

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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.


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. 


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...

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.

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@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 ☺


As documents become available, post them for us to see.

Ones of interest would be 

Your deed.

Trouble neighbor's deed

Any other deeds that are nearby, or touching your land.

Survey plats, as they become available.

The armchair generals, that populate this forum feed on this stuff.

We are like old feed mills. Throw grain, silage, and other food like stuff in the feed hopper, and we'll grind it. You may, or may not like the final product as it comes out, but that's what we "feed on".



Nate the Surveyor,


I have the deeds! I will try and upload them tomorrow morning. I'll also start looking out for the other documents and information in the meantime. Smile


Step One:

Verify that the surveyor you hired can be found listed as a licensed professional surveyor here

Step Two:

If you can find out the name of the surveyor hired by your neighbor, do the same thing with that surveyors name.


If they are both licensed, and behave professionally, and your surveyor has reached out to discuss the matter with the other surveyor; then a full resolution to the issue should be developing.

Step Three:

If you are not clear or unsatisfied with the answer you receive, ask clarifying questions of your surveyor.


      Have you Surveyed in Indiana before? Is it common or allowed for a License Surveyor to do the field work, tell someone this is probably your property line, and charge a less amount than if he was going to sign the Surveyor?    


I don't have Indiana experience - I'm just south in Kentucky.  But that scenario is exactly why I suggested the original poster confirm the license status of everyone claiming to be a surveyor.  It seems odd to me to tell people approximately where their corners are located.

Both Surveyors are licensed according to the website, so hopefully they can work this out and provide us useful information soon!

I'm not a professional so I don't think I will be unsatisfied with the answers unless we just end up with way less land than we thought we were purchasing via the deed. I know I'm not a professional, and I hate it when people with no degree or knowledge try to tell me how to do my job, so I can respect a valid professionals results... as long as I understand the reasoning and someone is willing to explain it to us. Smile

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Maybe I'm crazy but it seems to me if a Land Surveyor crosses a fairly substantial chain-link fence and sets boundary stakes 20' into the neighbor's enclosure they should at least take the time to explain to the neighbor why.  Granted it helps if the neighbor will listen and then maybe ask some questions.  The surveyor that set the stakes is in a far better position than any of us to know why he thinks the property line is where he thinks it is located. The original surveyor at least speaks the language so he can find out the whys and the wherefores and determine whether he was correct or that he made a mistake and then explain to his client why the neighbor's surveyor is either right or wrong.

I sympathize with the poster.  I hired a tree contractor then checked his license, he had one but it was suspended because he refused to pay a judgment against him (just what I want a tree trimmer who drops trees causing damage then refuses to pay up).  So I fired him before he did any work and hired another contractor with a good reputation on the recommendation of a friend and he was cheaper plus he wanted a written contract which is a good thing.  So the suggestion to check licenses is a good one.

From my understanding the last owner and current owners put the fence up together, where the last owner thought the Boundary was.  The fence has not been there long enough to have any weight on boundary line, expect for the last owning thinking this was the correct location. 

We have all done a survey where a neighbor puts up a fence and they want us to check to make sure it's in the correct location.  Sometimes we get the chance to explain to the owners why, other times they arent home or want nothing to do with us, and they let us know that. 

I do agree if she would talk to the other Surveyor he could answer her questions, and she should find a different Surveyor than the one she hired when they moved in.

Oh no! It is so hard to know who is licensed and whatnot today and where to look for certain professions that you are unfamiliar with!  I did check the license and thank goodness we should hopefully be good there! That tree service sounds terrifying. lol I work for an insurance company and all I can think of is the risk involved in hiring that guy... 

Also we would love an explanation and an opportunity to ask questions! Our surveyor is currently communicating with the other surveyor as we were told he would not communicate with us since we aren't the ones hiring him. I am hoping that they put their heads together and they are able to work together, as our surveyor advised the neighbor's surveyor called him up and asked questions when they were trying to mark the neighbor's line. 

The back fence hasn't been there long.. a couple of years. 


We were given a directive from our owner/CEO/Legal team(also a PLS) to never, under any circumstances just " Find and Flag" anything, especially if we hadn't been hired to do a "legal " survey.  This practice in Colorado can land the surveyor/company into hot water just for that very thing...." well, that surveyor person tied a bunch of flagging and placed stakes, so we thought it was the boundary....."

Yeah.  the dilemma is real, people want to believe what assists or bolsters their case, and never usually want to admit that they might be in the wrong or at the very least mistaken.  Good surveying is a process, not just a result.  Its research, and field work, and math. And liability and responsibility. 


We are still waiting for either surveyor to get back to us. It has been almost a week now, so Tuesday afternoon I am going to try and followup if I haven't received a response yet.

I did have a question. Is there a way to locate the neighbor's "legal survey" if that is what they got? 

Also, is it normal practice or possible to only survey and mark one property line and place a new pin in the road based on that? We have cameras facing the whole back area and no one ever went to the other two corners or the neighbors property during their survey. They also aren't marked. A few surveyors told us when we were calling around they would have to do an entire survey, not just a partial. I'm a little confused on this part.

We have been trying to avoid the neighbor when he is outside, but it makes it hard when you have animals to take care of... I'll spare the details, but praying that we get word back from one or both of our surveyors soon! We also have a lot of livestock on the back of the property, so we will need to move the chain link in on our property even more to get hay to the back of the property if these markers are correct. I want to get to work as soon as possible if we end up having to do as such.

My surveyor mentioned that we didn't want to have to get attorneys and judges involved unless we have to, so I'm really wondering if there isn't an overlap on deeds or some other issue that I'm not aware of. It seems like he wants to thoroughly discuss it with the other surveyor before letting us know all the details of what is going on.

I'll also post deeds and whatnot this week to see if it is any help in anyone's opinions.

Thanks to you professionals so much for taking the time to make me understand this stuff so much better. I really really do appreciate it!

Some states, like the 2  I practice in (Oregon/Washington) have "recording laws". Survey boundary maps have to be recorded. They are public record. Your state (Indiana) isn't one of them.  But you should still be able to get, at least, a look at the map if there is one. And a thorough explaination.

A lawyer is not appropriate at this time. He would only hire a surveyor of his own. You have the right profession on the job. Maybe lawyer later , but not now.

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Were you able to arrive at a satisfactory resolution?


I just read through this old thread also and it's now leaving me hanging in suspense! I grew up and was formally educated in Indiana in this fine art of Surveying but I moved to Missouri upon graduation close to 20 years ago.  One thing I do remember is that Indiana requires a beautiful surveyor's report to be attached to their surveys.  It's to explain everything they did and why.  I'd be curious as to the contents of the reports for both sides of the line.  One thing I find curious is her picture of a "monument" in the road.  It's a mag nail which can't be used a boundary monument in Missouri.  I'm reading in the IN min. standards that a mag nail is acceptable though.  We just run into the problem of land owners thinking your control points are their property corners or points on line ever so often.  Even as stealth as you think you left them, they'll find them and tell you that your survey is all jacked!

@jflamm I'm not sure that we are any less confused than we were in the beginning, but I will try to post an update tonight Smile I need to read through and see how far I explained it and what part of the process I dropped off due to communicating directly with the surveyors Smile


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). 

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