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Land survey gone horribly wrong  

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Posts: 4
Joined: 5 years ago

Hello. My husband and I had our land surveyed a few years ago so we could install a privacy fence in the correct spot. When the surveyers came out, after 6 hours he said that he has never had such a hard time finding the lines. I told him that we had received a paper at closing with a sketch showing that the line came out 7 1/2 feet from the bay window on the side of our house. He told me unless I could show him said paper, he couldn't go off that. I couldn't find it at the time as we had misplaced it and the fence was already purchased and sitting outback by our shed. He had to use what the county had on file from sometime in the 1800s. Yes. Our house was built in 1900 and no new surveys were done in our town since the 1800s. He told me the whole town was off. He finally used an old fence post to the left of our property to go off of which used to be a part of our property (used to hold the horses) before that land was sold off. Now, we have markers on one side of our house that are just inches from the bay window rather than the 7 1/2 feet that is started on the original drawing that we received from the title company at closing. We have found that paper now and don't know what steps we can take to correct it. The guy who placed the markers told me that they are 3' deep and can never be removed. We just got new neighbors (renters who are considering purchasing their house) who have seen the markers and we have told them that those markers are off by about 7 feet, yet they continue to mow our grass and ignore us. I am worried they are going to cut down our holly tree next which is 2 feet over the marker, but according to our paper, well within our yard. We paid $600 for this survey. The fence was never installed due to the confusion. It Just sat and has been eaten by termites...totally destroyed. Do I call the company and have them come out and move their markers or do I need to hire a new company? Will they move their markers? Can I hire a new company or will there be legal issues with the markers being moved by another company? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

42 Replies
Posts: 375
250+ posts
Joined: 6 years ago

Firstly, survey laws and requirements for finalization of a survey vary state by state. If you let us know the state you are in, that would go a long way in determining the solution for you.

Did the surveyor provide you with a map showing your parcel upon completion of the job?

I have performed work in an area like the situation you are in, and all the property lines (per the deed) were off about 8 feet. Luckily, this was common knowledge, so the neighbor on each side were willing to agree to quit claim the lands up to the existing fence lines. Subsequently, the entire block was surveyed and corrected.

The problem is that, as surveyors, we are required to locate and recreate the deeded descriptions of land, which in some cases do not match the lines of occupation. In Washington state, the law requires us to file a record of survey if the lines of occupation do not match the deed description. State law also gives us some useful tools in resolving your particular problem, but again, this may vary depending on the state you are in.

Your surveyor should be able to offer solutions. I would contact him/her and ask what the steps are to change/correct the boundary lines to what you believe them to be. You will likely need to involve your neighbors, so now would be a good time to become very friendly with them.

I would try to resolve your issues with your current surveyor, before seeking another one.

Paul in PA
Posts: 5896
5,000+ posts
Joined: 10 years ago

If The Title Company Had The Original Survey... should have been provided prior to the new survey as a part of the title package.

From this point on your survey work will most likely require an attorney. You can mention the $600 as much as you want, but add at least one more zero for now.

Paul in PA


xyHt Magazine -- Still absolutely free!

Dave Karoly
Posts: 10871
10,000+ posts
Joined: 10 years ago

a survey like that should take 6 days, not 6 hours.

The surveyor is trying to reconstruct history from very sketchy evidence.

Bow Tie Surveyor
Posts: 832
500+ posts
Joined: 8 years ago

8 feet? That's nothin'..

How about where the location of the Point of Beginning is 150 feet removed from where its supposed to be? I worked on this one a couple of weeks ago. Its a couple of meets and bounds parcels that are supposed to start at the easternmost corner of Lot 4. Apparently, whoever wrote the descriptions (and subsequently surveyed) back in the 1970s was not aware that the road was realigned in the mid-1920s.

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