Ted Benbow & Associates Land Surveying, PC - Boundary Development, Statesville, North Carolina - surveys, surveyor, surveying









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A current, well performed survey is one of the best tools
a landowner can have to maintain his "domain" over the land.

Your purchase of a home or other real property may be the biggest investment of your life. Having the protection of a land survey and having the assurance that your ownership is secure against land title problems, will mean tremendous peace of mind.

A Land Survey

You may believe that a casual inspection of your property will be sufficient to determine its boundaries and assure that all buildings, fences and other improvements on both your and your neighbor's, land are properly located. However, if you purchase or improve your property without an accurate land survey, you may find that, for instance, your home actually is partly located on the lot next door or your neighbor's garage is on your lot. These problems can be avoided with a proper land survey.

Don't rely in haste on just any physical measurement of the property that may be called a survey. Your mortgage lender or other party may have had some physical measurement performed that is less than a survey and which reveals less information about your property boundaries and other matters than a valid land survey would indicate.

A survey is the measurement by a licensed surveyor of real property that delineates the boundaries of a parcel of land as further defined under state law. A survey for land title purposes additionally designates the location of all visible evidence of improvements, encroachments, and easements. Among things found on a valid survey are

  • Date
  • Signature and seal of licensed surveyor
  • Description of property corners
  • Any visible matters which would affect your use and enjoyment of the property

Remember — not everything called a survey is a survey. If anything appears on your survey, or in connection with it, which in any way limits its uses such as might be suggested by the language, "For Mortgage Loan Purposes Only" or "Preliminary Plot," you should question it. If the document referred to as a survey in your transaction fails to contain the above listed information, you should strongly consider requesting a survey from a licensed surveyor.

ALTA and ACSM have jointly adopted standards for land title surveys, to encourage the best possible protection for those who buy homes and otherwise invest in real estate.

Selecting a Professional Land Surveyor

When it is determined that a land survey is needed, only a Professional Land Surveyor, licensed by the North Carolina State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, is legally permitted to survey the land in North Carolina.

Every Professional Land Surveyor follows the requirements listed in the "Standards of Practice for Land Surveying in North Carolina." The State Board publishes these standards and the Professional Land Surveyor you hire can provide a copy upon request. The Standards of Practice lists everything the land surveyor MUST do during a survey and what MUST appear on the final survey map.

It is best to select a Professional Land Surveyor by qualifications. A well qualified land surveyor will take the time to ask you about your needs for the survey. The surveyor will then explain what is required to complete your survey and will answer all of your questions in a helpful manner so that you understand the process.

The Professional Land Surveyor constantly updates field equipment and office computers in order to provide you with the best service.

If you needed heart surgery, would you select the cheapest... or the best surgeon? The same principle applies when selecting a Professional Land Surveyor. Remember, many times, the "cheapest" survey costs the most in additional surveying and legal fees.

Chances are a low bid means the surveyor must cut corners and sacrifice quality. Incorrect surveys can cost you way more money than you would have saved by selecting a surveyor based on price alone. As a consumer you should shop for the best value, not the cheapest price.

When is a Survey Required

Before title to land is conveyed, it is desirable to have an adequate description of the property for the deed, including an accurate determination of the acreage. It is also important to know if there are any physical features or title overlaps which might constitute encroachments or, in some other way, adversely affect the title to the land. Only an up-to-date survey by a Professional Land Surveyor can give you this information.

Most North Carolina cities and counties have subdivision ordinance procedures which must be followed. For any subdivision, the Professional Land Surveyor can work with you to prepare the required maps. This may be a simple procedure, but may, depending on the situation, involve: a boundary survey, a topographical survey, site analysis, road and lot layout, road grade design and the calculations for the necessary erosion control features. The Professional Land Surveyor can also prepare, for review, the subdivision plat for recording the road plan & profile maps and the erosion control plan.

The Professional Land Surveyor can explain the requirements of the local Subdivision Ordinance and assist you in getting the necessary approvals for your development.

Before land is improved by constructing drives, fences, walls or buildings, it is desirable to know the location of the property corners and boundaries. Using the services of a Professional Land Surveyor, for staking and grading the locations of the improvements, avoids encroachments upon adjoining property and possible litigation at a later date. It also insures the improvements will be constructed according to the design plans.

Before land is divided by will or by Court Order, a survey of the land is needed. In the case of a will, the boundary of the property, as well as any improvements such as buildings, roads and drives on the property, need to be located. When the land is divided, the heirs can easily decide on the location of the new property lines. The Professional Land Surveyor can provide the necessary maps.

Before the Court can establish a disputed boundary line it needs an accurate survey of the land. When a question arises as to the location of a boundary line between you and your neighbor, the first thing you need to do is get an accurate boundary survey. When the survey is completed, the Professional Land Surveyor can explain the location of the boundary line. In some cases, the surveyor can help solve the problem between you and your neighbor; at other times, the surveyor will appear in court as an expert witness on your behalf.

What the Professional Land Surveyor Needs From You

The Professional Land Surveyor needs

  • Your Name
  • Your Current Address and Phone Number
  • Name of the Current Owner of the Land
  • Parcel Identification Number (PIN) of the Property
  • Deed Book and Page Number of the Current Deed

Any other information you can provide, such as deeds, wills or maps, may be of help.

It is not necessary for you to search for or get copies of neighbors' deeds. The Professional Land Surveyor is an expert at this research and is required to do so by the Standards of Practice.

The information you submit to the Professional Land Surveyor can be mailed. This is preferred because it gives written authorization to proceed. A retainer may be required for certain surveys before the land surveyor will begin your survey.

Why Survey Costs Vary

The Professional Land Surveyor's fee will include the time to search for deeds or court records, locate the physical boundary evidence at the property, make the necessary computations to check the boundary, place appropriate markers on the property and prepare the survey map.

The cost of surveys can vary because of missing corner evidence, disputed boundary lines, rough terrain, heavy underbrush, poor land descriptions in the deeds and travel time to and from the property.

Because of these varying conditions, it is difficult for the Professional Land Surveyor to predict an exact cost. The same conditions and the number of jobs pending will affect when your survey can be completed. This time can vary from days to months.

Additional Information

A survey is a highly technical and complex service utilizing the art of measuring, mathematics and the proper interpretation of real property law.

A Title Insurance policy is generally issued when property is purchased. This covers the title of the property protecting the owner; or the loan protecting the lender. It can also cover the survey if specified. Discuss the provisions of title insurance with your lawyer.

The Professional Land Surveyor can survey your land ONLY according to the deeds and other available information. The location of the boundary lines marked by the surveyor is ONLY a professional opinion based on the evidence found in the records and on the ground. However, the accuracy by which the Professional Land Surveyor accomplishes this service is backed by his professional integrity.

In today's business world, lawyers, engineers and architects rely heavily on the Professional Land Surveyor's integrity and accuracy.

In the case of litigation, the Professional Land Surveyor will appear in court as an expert witness. The surveyor's testimony is accepted by the court as professional evidence.

Your Surveyor is Part of a Team

Your Attorney, Realtor, Lender and Title Insurer are the other members of this professional team. All rely on input from each other in order to serve your needs.

Owners Title Insurance

There are many real estate title problems that can arise to cause you financial loss which could even include the loss of your property. These title difficulties include those that will not be revealed even by the most careful search of public records which are called hidden hazards. When hidden hazards are present, the title search of the public records may reveal no problems whatsoever even though the title to real estate is seriously flawed. Your attorney's examination of title evidence from the records may be based on great skill, experience and legal knowledge but the title still may be defective.

Here are examples of land title problems that can affect your real estate ownership. They may not emerge until long after you buy property but they nonetheless can result in claims and financial loss.

  • Claims by children born or adopted after date of will
  • Claims by previously undisclosed heirs
  • Deeds by minors, aliens or persons of unsound mind
  • Administration of estates of persons absent but not deceased
  • Claims of creditors against real estate sold by heirs
  • Forged deeds, mortgage releases and other documents
  • Mistakes in public records
  • Fraudulent acts
  • Misinterpretation of Will
  • Descriptions of property that appear accurate but are not

Protection against land title problems, including hidden hazards, is offered by title insurance. The purchase of title insurance does not assure that you, the home buyer, are protected. In virtually all parts of the country, the lender requests that the home buyer pay for a "lender's policy" of title insurance to safeguard the lender's security interest in real estate being purchased. Such coverage does not protect you, as home buyer. "Lender's title insurance" is issued in the amount of the mortgage loan; its amount of coverage decreases as your loan is paid off.

It is therefore necessary for the home buyer seeking protection of his or her interest to obtain an "owner's policy" of title insurance. Title problems affecting the buyer's use and enjoyment of property may not affect the lender's security interest, so "owner's title insurance" should be given serious consideration. In some areas, "owner's title insurance" must be requested and paid for by the home buyer if this coverage is desired. In other locales, an "owner's policy" is customarily paid for by the seller of the real estate.

Title insurance is paid for once, normally at the real estate closing. There are no annual renewal premiums as with casualty type insurance.

"Owner's title insurance" normally is issued in the amount of your real estate purchase price. Under its coverage, the title insurer will, when necessary, pay for defending against an attack on the title as insured and will pay valid claims. Coverage lasts as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property concerned.

Remember — before you buy — that you are making a substantial investment when purchasing a home.

The time for precautions, is before you complete your real estate transaction.

To protect your interests, insist on a land survey by a licensed land surveyor and an "owner's policy" of title insurance.

American Congress on
Surveying and Mapping
5410 Governor Lane
Suite 100
Bethesda, MD 20814
American Land Title Association
Suite 705 1828 L Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036

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