The 4 Main Types Of Land Surveys You Need To Know If You Are Buying Property

Posted on: 12 October 2015

When most people hear the term land surveyor or land survey, they picture an individual standing around on a piece of property, measuring it and writing down basic boundary information. However, there are actually many different types of land surveys that a land surveyor can create. Here is a brief rundown of the top four types of land surveys that you may need if you are buying property.

Boundary Survey

A boundary survey is the type of survey that most people think of when they think about a surveyor. If you need a boundary survey, the surveyor will use historical documents that provide the measurements for your land, combined with your current deed, to help them measure your land.

The surveyor will come out to your property and mark the boundaries of your property for you using markers. They will also generally provide you with an accurate map that also shows your land boundaries in relation to current buildings and landmarks.

Mortgage Surveys

Mortgage surveys have to be performed by someone who is an officially licensed land surveyor. The same person who does your mortgage inspection cannot complete a mortgage survey for you; these are two different specialties.

During a mortgage survey, the boundaries of your land do not have to be physically marked out. Your surveyor will primarily spend time studying historical documents related to your home as well as the deed to your home to make sure that the boundaries are correct that no buildings on your property actually encroach on someone else's land.

They will also make sure that no one else is encroaching on your land. Finally, during a mortgage survey, your surveyor will make sure that all the buildings you are trying to purchase meet build building and zoning codes.

This document will need to be submitted to your mortgage company in order for your mortgage to be approved.

Topographic Surveys

Topically surveys are like creating a topographical map for a specific area. All man-made as well as natural features will be located, measured and plotted onto a map. The elevation of them will be measured, and contour lines will be used to show how these features relate in elevation to a site.

These types of surveys are generally used by architects and engineers to study the land and help them with their designs. They are also sometimes commissioned by the government for a wide range of purposes.

ALTA Surveys

If you need or want elements of all three survey types listed above, then you need to hire a surveyor to create an ALTA survey. ALTA surveys follow a set of universal rules for creating the surveys that was developed by both the American Congress On Surveying and Mapping as well as the American Land Title Association.

These types of surveys are generally used for commercial properties because they are seen as a standard of excellence by the business community and business leaders know what to expect when they order an ALTA survey; however, residential homes can also order these types of surveys.

Before you call up your local surveyor and ask them to survey some land you are purchasing, make sure you know what type of survey you need and what you intend to use the survey information for. Use the descriptions above as a guide when talking with a land surveyor, like those at Arizona Surveying and Mapping.


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