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Traverse City Land Surveyors FAQ’s

Here are some questions Traverse City land surveyors are asked.

michigan land surveyor FAQLand surveyors determine where and how legal boundaries are created. They play an important role in the planning and design stage in projects in several fields including building, transportation, mapping and real estate.

If you were to hire a Traverse City surveyor they would likely go through the following steps to create a precise survey.

• Research the property, to find written records such as existing deeds, boundary surveys, and easements.

• Visit the site to measure the land.

o Your Traverse City surveyor would likely use a piece of equipment called a total station to obtain precise measurements. A total station uses a beam of light to accurately measure distance and angles.

o Technology now allows the instruments to record the distances, as well as other land features including depth and slope.

• Back at the office the land surveyor makes more detailed calculations utilizing algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

• Finally they will compare their measurements in the field to the written records.

• The surveyor will then share with you what was learned from the survey. For example any information regarding encroachments on the property, and feedback as to the accuracy of the description in the deed. Surveyors must be familiar with property and contract law so that they can refer clients to an attorney when appropriate.


What are the services of a land surveyor used for?

• Mapping the topography of land for design engineering and construction including private, commercial and government projects.

• Establishing borders for titling, deeds and leases to use all available property while avoiding potential litigation as a result of encroaching on another person’s property.

• A land surveyor can be consulted as an expert witness if there is a dispute over a property line. A licensed surveyor’s testimony is accepted as professional evidence in the court.

• They are typically utilized prior to construction to ensure that buildings and roads are not built on other people’s property.


Why do I need flood insurance?

It may seem confusing to be told that you need flood insurance when your house may be 10 feet above the lake. The reality is that water levels can fluctuate drastically, especially in the spring due to heavy rain and/or snow melt putting your property and home in danger of becoming flooded.


Why do I need FEMA?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has old maps that share information about flood plane areas.


My property was just surveyed 3 years ago, why do I need another one?

Banks often require a mortgagee survey because they don’t know if people have made improvements/additions to the property that may have caused encroachments. A new survey will also help to determine if a clear title can be passed. Read more..


What makes you different from other Traverse City surveyors?

DPS Survey and Mapping has several competitive advantages. Some of the most significant are:

• Superior drawings

• Extensive experience – surveyor in Northern MI since 1975

• Familiarity with the Wexford, Antrim, Grand Traverse, Manistee, Leelanau and Benzie Counties

All surveys are recorded with the register of deeds. Many surveyors do not do this because the surveyor’s work will become public record and can be used by others. It is very important to record the survey so that there is an official document that can be referenced later. Read more..


What is this going to cost?

Free customized quotes are created on a per project basis by looking at several factors including but not limited to:

• Site location

• Terrain

• Type of survey

• Deadline

• Additional research needed

• Travel

• Structures on the site

Read more about how DPS Northern MI land surveyors create pricing.


What do I do if my neighbor’s land survey says that the property line is on my land?

I’m sure a feud with the neighbor is the last thing you are looking for, but who wants to just let a piece of your property go? First find out where the information is coming from. Were your existing property lines determined by a land surveyor or was it just what the previous owner told you? Are you confident that the neighbor is getting their information from a professional land survey?

If their information is from a previous owner then a professional land survey should be conducted. If the “new” property line was discovered by a licensed land surveyor then you can choose to hire a licensed Traverse City land surveyor to perform a survey on your behalf. If there is a discrepancy between the two professional surveys over the location of the property line then the two surveyors can work together to resolve the issue. If an agreement between the surveyors cannot be reached you may have to resolve the issue with your neighbor directly. When you reach an agreement contact your attorney to see if any legal documentation should be created to formalize the agreement. If that is not possible you may have to settle the issue though the court system.


Are you going to use a GPS on this?

It may seem like surveyors that use GPS should be able to let the GPS do the surveying work by walking the boundaries of the property and marking them. Although GPS is a valuable tool and often helps to improve accuracy, surveying is far too complex using GPS alone.


What training does a licensed land surveyor in Michigan need?

The state of Michigan requires an individual to earn a Bachelor’s degree in the field of Surveying and then work under the direct supervision of a licensed land surveyor for at least four years. At that time the individual may submit an application to the State of Michigan licensing board and if they meet the requirements they are allowed to take the licensing exam. The exams consist of two, eight-hour tests. One meets national licensing requirements and the other is Michigan specific. The tester must achieve at least 70% on each exam to become licensed. After that there are regular continuing education requirements that must be met.


What are the benefits of a land boundary survey?

A boundary survey will provide the physical location, size and boundaries of the property. This allows them to accurately determine if there are any encroachments on the property and share this with you. It will also aid an attorney in defending your property rights should the need arise. Finally, you can receive a professional opinion of the quality of the property description.


Is it Michigan law that when land is sold it must be surveyed?

No the state of Michigan does not require that a parcel of land be surveyed prior to its sale.


Will title insurance protect me if there is a boundary dispute?

No, this is a common misconception. Title insurance will protect you if there are defects in the title. Title insurance does not cover disputes over property lines. So if you purchase a property with a shed that is on your neighbor’s property your title insurance isn’t helpful unless it specifies otherwise. Part of having title insurance is to show the selling party in fact has authority to do so. It lets the purchasing party know of taxes due or leans on the property being purchased that may surprise the buyer later on. Often they spell out that they will only back what is shown on a certified survey that will put the liability on the back of the licensed Traverse City surveyor.