Area Surveying, Inc.


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Surveying 101

To understand your survey you first have to understand how it's oriented.  A survey provides you with a "bird's eye" view of your property. That is the survey plat (map) is drawn as if looking down from the sky onto your property.  The second thing to remember is that most surveys are drawn so that north is at the top of the page.  Since most people don't carry a compass around with them, this can make it hard to get oriented.  When looking at a survey, most people find it easiest to imagine themselves standing in the street facing their property.  The adjoining street should be prominently labeled on the survey.  Locate the street and turn the drawing so street is closest to you.  Then imagine that you are standing in the street as you examine the survey plat.

The boundaries of the property are heavy lines that outline your tract of land on the drawing. Trace them out, noticing anything that either encroaches from the neighboring property onto yours or that protrudes from your property onto the neighboring property.  Examples of these include fences, walks and walls.  It is not uncommon for fences and such things to be a small distance from the property line.  However, if you find large variances, such as a neighbors fence several feet onto your property, you may want to discuss the matter with a real estate attorney.  Next look for any easements on your property and note their size and type.  Check for anything that might interfere with the use of the easement.  Then check for any Building Lines and make sure that the buildings are behind these set-back lines.  

Finally, be sure to read the "Notes" and the "Surveyor's Certification". These provide useful information on what the survey plat doesn't show or items that have not been addressed. In order to understand your survey better, it might be helpful to know a few of the abbreviations that may be used.  Also, you should look to see if there is a legend of symbols used on the plat.