Should I Have My Neighborhood Home Surveyed Before I Buy It?

Should I Have My Neighborhood Home Surveyed Before I Buy It?

Buying a new home is an exciting and significant milestone in anyone’s life. It’s likely one of the biggest investments you’ll make, both financially and emotionally. With such a significant investment at stake, it’s essential to ensure that you’re making an informed decision. One way to do this is by having a home surveyed before making a purchase. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of having your home surveyed and why it’s a crucial step in the home-buying process.

Understanding the Neighborhood Boundaries

One of the main reasons to have your home surveyed is to confirm the property boundaries. A property survey carefully examines the land and clearly marks the boundaries, ensuring that you know exactly what you’re buying. This is especially crucial if there are any disputes or questions regarding property lines. Unclear or disputed boundaries can lead to future legal issues or conflicts with neighbors. By having a professional survey conducted, you can avoid potential boundary disputes and ensure that you’re purchasing the property as described.

Identifying Encroachments or Easements

During a home survey, a professional land surveyor will also identify any encroachments or easements on the property. Encroachments occur when a structure or feature from one property extends onto another property. These can range from fences, buildings, or even overhanging trees. Easements, on the other hand, are rights granted to others, such as utility companies, allowing them to access and use parts of your property, even if you own it. Understanding any encroachments or easements is crucial as it may affect how you can use or modify your property in the future. A survey will provide you with a clear understanding of any encroachments or easements and how they might impact your plans for the property.

Discovering Potential Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes are not uncommon, and they can quickly escalate into legal battles. Having a home surveyed can help you identify any potential boundary disputes before they become significant problems. By knowing the exact boundaries of your property and having a professional surveyor’s opinion on them, you can approach potential issues with confidence. If there are any discrepancies or concerns about the property boundaries, you can address them with the seller or consult with a real estate attorney who can provide guidance. Ultimately, a survey can save you from costly legal disputes and ensure a smoother home-buying process.

Uncovering Hidden Liabilities

Not all homes come with a clean slate. Some properties may have hidden liabilities that only a thorough survey can uncover. For example, there might be underground storage tanks, right-of-way violations, or zoning restrictions that you should be aware of before purchasing the property. These hidden liabilities can have a significant impact on your decision to buy the home or negotiate a better deal. A professional survey will reveal any potential issues so you can make informed decisions that align with your needs and expectations.

Obtaining Accurate Property Measurements

Apart from boundaries and liabilities, a home survey also provides you with accurate measurements of the property. Knowing the exact size of the lot can be beneficial if you have specific plans for the property, such as building an addition or landscaping projects. It’s also essential for determining property taxes and ensuring that you’re not paying more than necessary. Additionally, accurate measurements can prevent any future disputes with neighbors regarding encroachments or property lines.


Having your home surveyed is a crucial step in the home-buying process. It provides you with accurate information about property boundaries, potential encroachments or easements, and any hidden liabilities that may affect your decision to purchase. By investing in a professional survey, you can make informed decisions, prevent future legal disputes, and ensure that the property meets your needs and expectations. So, before you finalize that home purchase, consider the value of a home survey and the peace of mind it can provide.

Need your future home surveyed? Let us help! Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

How To Survey Monument Standards

How To Survey Monument Standards

When it comes to land surveying, maintaining accurate and reliable monument standards is of utmost importance. Monuments are permanent markers that are set in place to define specific boundaries or points of reference on a parcel of land. These monuments play a vital role in providing clear and consistent survey data, and any deviation or discrepancy in their placement can lead to significant errors in future surveys.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of monument standards, the process of surveying and setting monuments, and how to ensure that these standards are upheld.

Importance of Monument Standards

Monuments serve as fixed reference points that provide a framework for surveyors to accurately measure and define land boundaries. Without these standards, there would be no reliable way to establish property lines or determine where one person’s land ends and another’s begins. Monuments also play a crucial role in resolving boundary disputes, as they provide an objective and legally recognized reference for determining land ownership.

Furthermore, monument standards ensure consistency and comparability across different surveying projects. By adhering to standardized monument placement and surveying practices, surveyors can ensure that their measurements and calculations are reliable and can be easily compared to past and future surveys.

Surveying and Setting Monuments

The process of surveying and setting monuments involves several key steps that are critical to maintaining monument standards. Below are the key steps involved:

1. Research and Analysis: Before conducting a survey, it is essential to conduct a thorough research and analysis of the property’s historical records, including previous surveys, deeds, and other relevant documents. This step helps to identify existing monuments, their condition, and their accuracy.

2. Field Work: The next step involves conducting field work to physically identify and locate existing monuments. This may require using precise measuring instruments, such as GPS receivers or total stations, to measure distances and angles accurately. Surveyors may also use various techniques, such as triangulation or traversing, to establish the positions of monuments.

3. Monument Setup: Once the positions of existing monuments have been established and verified, surveyors may need to set new monuments to replace those that are damaged or missing. These new monuments should be set at the same position and elevation as the original monument, to ensure continuity in the monument standard.

4. Documentation: Accurate and detailed documentation is crucial throughout the surveying and monument setting process. This includes keeping a field book that records all measurements, observations, and calculations made during the survey. Additionally, photographs and sketches should be taken to provide a visual representation of the monuments and their surroundings.

Ensuring Monument Standards

To ensure that monument standards are upheld, surveyors need to adhere to specific best practices. Here are some key considerations:

1. Compliance with Regulations: Surveyors should always ensure that their work complies with local, state, and federal regulations regarding surveying and monumentation. These regulations may dictate specific requirements for monument materials, dimensions, and placement.

2. Regular Surveys and Maintenance: To maintain accurate monument standards over time, surveyors should conduct regular surveys of the monuments in their jurisdiction. This will help identify any damage or displacement and enable timely repairs or replacements.

3. Collaboration and Professional Development: Surveying professionals should actively participate in professional organizations and collaborate with other surveyors to stay updated with the latest advancements in technology, best practices, and monument standards. Regular training and professional development opportunities can also enhance surveyors’ knowledge and skills in monument setting.

4. Communication and Documentation: Clear communication and proper documentation are essential in maintaining monument standards. Surveyors should clearly communicate monument information to all relevant stakeholders, including property owners, land managers, and other surveyors. Detailed and accurate documentation should be maintained throughout the entire surveying process to provide a comprehensive record of monument placement.


Survey monument standards are the backbone of accurate and reliable land surveying. They provide a consistent framework for establishing property boundaries and defining land ownership. By following best practices, adhering to regulations, and conducting regular surveys and maintenance, surveyors can ensure that monument standards are upheld and that future surveys can rely on accurate and consistent data.

Got questions about land surveying? Let us help! Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

Should I Hire A Survey Company To Identify My Residential Property?

Silhouette,black,man,survey,civil,engineer,stand,on,ground,workingShould I Hire A Survey Company To Identify My Residential Property?

Buying a residential property is an important decision, and it can be an expensive investment. It’s always a good idea to conduct a property survey before you purchase a property. A property survey helps identify the boundaries, property lines, and other features that may impact the property. Hiring a survey company is an excellent way to ensure that you receive an accurate report that can help you make an informed decision on your property purchase. In this blog post, we will discuss why you should hire a survey company to identify your residential property.

What is a Property Survey?

A property survey is an inspection that helps determine the boundaries of the property. A property survey also includes any structures on the property, such as buildings, walls, and fences. Property surveys help to identify any issues that may impact the property, such as encroachments or easements.

A property survey is typically done by a professional surveyor who is licensed by the state. Surveyors use specialized equipment and tools to measure and identify the boundaries of the property accurately.

Why Hiring a Survey Company is a Good Idea?

A survey company can provide an objective and impartial assessment of the property. A survey company can help you identify potential issues that may affect the property and give you the necessary information to make informed decisions.

Here are some reasons why hiring a survey company is a good idea:

1. Accurate Boundary Identification

One of the primary reasons to hire a survey company is to obtain an accurate boundary identification. This is particularly essential if you are unsure about the property’s boundaries. A survey company can use advanced tools and techniques to measure and identify the exact boundaries of your property. Boundaries of a property are important as it can help prevent future legal disputes with your neighbors.

2. Identification of Any Restrictions on the Property

Survey companies can identify any restrictions on the property, including easements or rights of way. Easements may affect your plans for the property. An easement is a non-possessory interest in a piece of land that gives someone else the right to use the land. A survey company can identify any easements and help you understand how it may impact your property.

3. Accurate Identification of the Property’s Physical Features

A survey company can also accurately identify the property’s physical features, such as structures, trees, or water features like ponds or streams. These physical features are important to identify, as they may affect zoning and other restrictions on the property.

4. Identification of Any Encroachments

Encroachments on your property occur when someone has built a structure or otherwise used a part of your property without your permission. An encroachment may also exist if you or the previous owner unknowingly indicated the property’s boundary incorrectly. Survey companies can help identify encroachments and help you deal with such problems.

5. Providing Accurate Information for Legal Considerations

A survey report can help in legal considerations as it can provide accurate information about your property. For instance, accurate boundary identification can help in disputes with neighbors, while details about property stabilization may help in insurance claims in case of natural disasters.

6. Providing Accurate Information for Building and Renovations

If you plan to build an addition to your home or renovate the property, a survey can provide you with accurate information. With a survey report, you can better plan and budget for your construction projects.

Final Thoughts

A property survey can help you make an informed decision when purchasing a property. A survey company can provide a detailed report about your property that can help you understand the boundary lines, physical features, easements, and encroachments. Survey reports can help you identify any potential issues that may impact your plans for the property and prepare for them.

By hiring a survey company, you can ensure that you receive accurate data that you can use to make informed decisions. This not only helps you avoid any future legal problems but also provides crucial information for any modifications or construction projects you may undertake on the property. Be sure to contact our team of professional land surveyors here at Smyth Surveyors, Inc. to learn more about what we can do for you!

What Is A Survey For Flood Elevation Certification?

Flooded,road,sign,in,pescadero,,san,mateo,county,,california,fromWhat Is A Survey For Flood Elevation Certification?

Floods are a common natural disaster that can cause extensive damage and disruption to both residential and commercial properties. In the United States, flood elevation certificates are used to determine the flood risk of a property and if flood insurance is necessary. A survey for flood elevation certification is a process that involves a survey of a property to determine its elevation in relation to the surrounding floodplain. This blog post will delve into the details of flood elevation certification surveys.

What is a Flood Elevation Certificate?

A flood elevation certificate is an official document that lists a property’s elevation in relation to the nearby floodplain. This certificate is important for determining the flood risk for a particular property and obtaining flood insurance. A flood elevation certificate is typically required by local, state, or federal governments before flood insurance can be obtained.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for establishing floodplain management regulations in the United States. FEMA produces standardized forms for use in floodplain management, including the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF) and the Elevation Certificate (EC). The EC is used to determine the proper flood insurance premiums for a particular property and must be completed by a professional land surveyor.

What is a Survey for Flood Elevation Certification?

A survey for flood elevation certification is a process that involves a professional land surveyor, who will determine the elevation of a property in relation to the surrounding floodplain. The survey will measure ground elevations, the foundation and floor elevations of the building, and any additional relevant information necessary to determine the flood risk of the property. The surveyor will also look for important indicators such as changes in terrain, water management systems, and nearby waterways and flood control structures.

The surveyor will then use this information to complete an Elevation Certificate (EC) and submit it to the appropriate agencies. This certificate will then be used by insurance companies to determine the flood insurance premiums for a particular property. The certificate will contain information such as the property’s location, the structure’s layout, and the building’s elevation in relation to the nearest floodplain.

Why Is a Survey for Flood Elevation Certification Important?

A survey for flood elevation certification is important for many reasons. Most importantly, a certificate can determine the flood risk of a property and the necessity of flood insurance. Properties that are deemed high-risk will require flood insurance as a condition of their mortgage loan. Flood insurance is often the only financial protection available to property owners affected by floods.

A survey for flood elevation certification can also be used to assess the flood risk of a property for land development purposes. Having an accurate flood elevation certificate can allow developers to minimize risks associated with building on flood-prone land. In addition, having a flood elevation certificate can provide an understanding of the flood risk of a property and improve the safety of the residents.

How to Get a Survey for Flood Elevation Certification

A land surveyor is required to complete a survey for flood elevation certification. When choosing a surveyor, it is important to ensure that they are licensed and experienced in flood elevation certification surveys. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can check with your local government agency that oversees floodplain management. They will likely have a list of approved surveyors and regulations in place.

During the survey, the surveyor may ask to access the property, including the crawl space and attic, to obtain accurate measurements. They may also ask for information such as blueprints, surveys, or other records related to the property.

Once the survey is completed, the surveyor will create an official report that includes the elevation certificate. This document can then be submitted to the relevant government agencies to comply with the regulations and obtain flood insurance as needed.


Flood elevation certification surveys are an essential tool in assessing the flood risk of a property. They provide an accurate assessment of the elevation of a property in relation to the surrounding floodplain, which can be used to help property owners obtain flood insurance and assess safety risks. It is vital that these surveys are conducted by licensed and experienced topographic surveying professionals to ensure the accuracy and quality of the results. Prioritizing a flood elevation certification survey can significantly aid in the protection of your property and its occupants in the event of a flood.