Most homeowners may not think they will ever need the services of a land surveyor, but these professionals are often called on when you want to buy land, make improvements to property parcels, or even renovate your own home in various ways. Note a few commonly asked questions about land surveyors, what they do, and when you need their services.
1. Why call a land surveyor if you're only renovating your home and not the property?
Many renovations you make to a home will affect the property itself; you may be adding weight to the home by adding a sunroom, or may want to add a backyard deck that extends over a large part of your yard. These things need to take into account if the soil can support any added weight or if you need to underpin your home's foundation for that sunroom, or you may need to know if the land is sloped or graded in a way that will affect your plans for that deck. If you're doing anything more than simple cosmetic work to your home, it's good to call a land surveyor first.
2. Can a land surveyor tell you the property value?
Land surveyors typically do not tell you the value of property that you want to buy or sell, but only work to describe the legal features of a parcel of land. This is much like a home inspector that inspects the furnace and electrical systems of a home but then does not put an actual price tag on the house. Land surveyors will typically create their report which is then used by appraisal companies or real estate agents to determine the asking or selling price of a land, but surveyors don't usually determine that price themselves.
3. Will getting a land survey raise my property taxes?
You may have heard stories of homeowners who had a land survey done only to see their property taxes go up, but note that your taxes are set by your government, not the surveyor. A land surveyor may actually prepare a report that could lower the tax value of your land, if they find that your boundaries have been improperly marked, if there are mineral sites on your property that have not held their value over the years, and the like. If you're concerned with how a land survey might affect your taxes, discuss this with your tax accountant or with a lawyer specializing in property values. He or she can advise you on what to expect by way of tax changes after a land survey.