Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to buying or selling land, people usually require the services of a Registered Professional Land Surveyor. Most people do not understand how a survey works and are not aware of the logical process to follow when choosing the right land surveyor.

Generally speaking, a survey should be made before purchasing real property, when dividing any tract of land, and prior to the construction of any improvements on property in which you have an interest.

Keep in mind that the services of a land surveyor NOW will cost you less time, worry, and money than the cost of either moving, improvements, or having to defend a lawsuit LATER.

 To help you make a decision, here are a few frequently asked questions.


Why Do I Need A Land Surveyor?

You must first know that ONLY a Registered Professional Land Surveyor, or RPLS, licensed by the State Board of Registration is legally permitted to perform land surveys in the State of Texas. It is important to understand that the Land Surveyor is part of a professional team composed of attorneys, title company personnel, engineers, architects, planners, landscape architects, and much more.

 It is also important to understand that a Land Surveyor should not be selected by price alone. Competency is of high importance. Land Surveyors, just like other professionals, vary in knowledge and ability as well.

When choosing your Land Surveyor, it is important to use a Surveyor that is familiar with the area. Surveyors that are not familiar with an area often take more time to research, more time in the field tying in existing corners that a Surveyor more familiar with the area may have already done, and more time to complete a full map, costing you more money. Your selection should be made when you are absolutely sure that the RPLS that you have chosen has all of the facts, is familiar with the area, and is completely aware of your needs and requirements. Remember, the experiences expressed by clients have usually shown that the majority of Land Surveyors provide competent work for a reasonable fee.


How Much Will A Survey Cost?

Here at Clear Fork Surveying & Mapping Co. Inc., we typically do not charge by acreage, we charge by the hour. Knowing this, the following tips can help you reduce the cost of your survey by saving you time and keeping your costs at a minimum.

The cost for most land surveying work is based on the following variables:


1.  Type of survey: Cost varies and will increase as the required precision and scope of the project increases.

2.  Record search: This varies by both the number of tracts involved, and the number of past transactions. Transactions in the past often result in many vague, incomplete, and often contradictory legal descriptions and land records. You can cut costs by asking the previous owner if there is an existing survey, or asking for the previous surveyor's name. Also, remember to always have a deed on hand before contacting the surveyor so that they can give a more accurate estimate on the cost of your survey.

3.  Size/Shape of the property: Basically, an irregularly shaped parcel has more corners to search and monument than a rectangular parcel containing the same area.

4.  Section Survey Work: Section surveys usually require the survey of the entire section (640 acres +/-) in which the land being surveyed lies, regardless of the area of the parcel. In some cases, a survey of more than one section is required, depending on the location of the parcel in question in relation to the sections shown on the government plat.

5.  Terrain: A level tract of land generally is easier to survey than a mountainous parcel and takes far less time.

6.  Vegetation: Branches, briars, brush, and small trees should be cleared to create a line of sight for the surveyors equipment. Doing this results in saving the survey field crew time, therefore keeping your cost down. In some settings, shrubs, flowers, and trees on home sites usually are not disturbed, but it may require additional field time to work around them.

7.  Accessibility: Keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to complete our field work varies with the distance and difficulty in reaching the property corners (especially large boundary surveys).

8.  Amount of existing evidence on the property: Existing evidence such as iron rods, wood stakes, stone monuments, old fences and occupation lines, witness trees, etc. are key aids for the Surveyor and are great evidence in determining seniority rights. Sometimes, their absence can make it difficult to retrace the original survey.

9.  Property Knowledge: Someone pointing out accepted survey/property lines and monuments is always a considerable aid to the Surveyor and can save time, and money.

10.Title Company Requirements: Title companies may require considerably more documentation than is normally required by the average land owner.


Because of these variables, it can be often be difficult to determine the exact fees of the total project from the start. However, with the high level of expertise, experience, and knowledge we have here at Clear Fork Surveying Co. Inc., we will furnish you with an approximate estimate.


The Texas Society of Professional Surveyors (TSPS) - FAQs for the General Public - http://www.tsps.org/

Land Surveyors Website - http://www.landsurveyors.com/

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Last modified: 02/23/11