Frequently Asked Questions
A Place to Self-Educate 
Prior to purchasing land
To make sure of what you are buying, and for insurance purposes.
Prior to installing a fence, building a house, or performing other types of construction including commercial construction staking.
Prior to dividing a piece of land into smaller parcels.
When you sell a parcel of land not previously surveyed.
To verify the amount of land assessed for taxes.
Although a land survey may seem tedious and unnecessary, there are many cases in which a land survey can save you confusion or legal troubles later. Even if a prior survey is on file, any two surveys will nearly always have slight differences because land surveying is as much an art as a science, and because measurements are always subject to error. A skilled surveyor will keep such errors to a minimum but will allow for discrepancies between surveys, giving you a better overall understanding of your land. A land surveyor will research any documents available about your land, including titles and previous surveys. He/she will then physically measure the property, checking these dimensions against the previous records to find any discrepancies.
The cost for most land surveying work is determined and based on the following variables:

Type of survey: Cost may increase as the required precision and scope of the survey increases.
Record search: This varies by (a) the number of parcels involved; and (b) the number of past transactions. (This necessary step is complicated by the casual manner in which many land transactions have been handled in the past, resulting in vague, incomplete, and often contradictory legal descriptions and land records).
Size and shape of the property: An irregularly shaped parcel has more corners to monument than a rectangular parcel containing the same area.
Sectionalized Survey Work: (Mainly in west Texas) This could 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.
Terrain: A level parcel of land is easier to survey than a mountain parcel.
Vegetation: Branches, brush, and small trees must frequently be cleared to afford a line of sight for the Surveyor. Shrubs, flowers and trees on home sites are normally not disturbed, but may require additional field time to perform work around them.
Accessibility: The time to perform the surveying work varies with the distance to, and the difficulty in reaching, the corners on the site.
Amount of existing evidence on the property: Existing evidence such as iron, wood, or stone monuments, old fences and occupation lines, witness trees, etc. aid the Surveyor. Their absence may compound difficulties involved in retracing the original survey.
Local knowledge of property: Someone pointing out accepted occupation lines and monumentation is a considerable aid to the Surveyor. Local knowledge of property:
Adjoiner Difficulties: When neighbors are uncooperative, and otherwise difficult or impossible, boundary line location may be established by boundary line agreement.
Time of Year: In summer, foliage may present problems making traversing difficult. In winter, weather may slow travel to and on site, and sometimes conceal field evidence.
Title Company Requirements: Title companies may require considerably more documentation than is normally required by the average land owner.
Because of these variables, it is difficult to determine the exact fees. However based on general experience and the requirements for the work, the Surveyor can furnish an approximate estimate of the costs.

Think about cost this way; will you spend less now by having your property surveyed and, thereby, fully exposing potential legal issues, or will it cost more down the road to resolve these issues in court, after you have already purchased the problem?

How do I choose which surveyor/firm to hire?

A land surveyor should never be chosen based on price alone. Remember the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” Registered Professional Land Surveyors, like other professionals, vary in knowledge and ability so choose a reputable firm in whom you can place your trust, with competency being the number one factor. Other factors should include:

Is the firm registered with the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveyors?
How many years has the firm been in business?
Is the principle of the firm a Registered Professional Land Surveyor?
Does the firm have “Errors and Omissions Insurance”?
Is the surveyor a member of the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors?
A professional land surveyor renders a highly technical service in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, codes and court decisions set forth by local, county, state and federal authorities. This includes stringent educational requirements. Because of the special skills and complexities involved in surveying land, statutes limit this practice only to those surveyors duly licensed by State Boards of Registration. Additionally, order to protect the public from inferior land surveying, most states have established a set of Minimum Standards for Property Boundary Surveys describing recommended procedures for a survey and information to be provided to the client.
Waterloo Surveyors prides itself on performing exceedingly thorough surveys. Depending on survey needs, our efforts include, but are not necessarily limited to:
  • Finding existing neighborhood and surrounding area marker points.
  • Researching courthouse records and other existing boundary records.
  • Computer research using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and software.
Waterloo Surveyors LLC. utilizes the latest technology and land surveying equipment to ensure the highest accuracy and efficiency in our surveys. 
Despite conventional belief, establishing boundary lines on a piece of land is not as simple as getting out a tape measure. Land surveyors use a combination of research, science and art to determine the true boundaries of any given property. Only licensed and regulated land surveyors have the required skills to do this.

After a surveyor has gathered all the data they need, they’ll return to their office to process it. Your engineer will draft up a survey plan and crunch the numbers so that you can understand the results of your survey.

This is often the longest part of the survey process, as some jobs require extensive documentation. The more experienced the surveyor and the more advanced their equipment, the easier it will be for them to get results.

This land survey is the most intensive and detailed. An ALTA/NSPS land title survey is necessary for when you buy or sell any commercial or private property. ALTA stands for the American Land Title Association, and NSPS stands for National Society of Professional Surveyors.

This land survey is named after these organizations because it follows ALTA and NSPS standards. An ALTA/NSPS land survey typically includes in-depth surveying for:

Boundary lines
Ancillary building locations
Locations of easements
Location of the main building and any improvements
This survey will ensure that there are no issues with encroachment or any other legal disputes. It also provides all the necessary information about the land to any seller or a potential buyer.

For more information about land surveying, give us a call or email.
Since purchasing a home is one of the largest investments most of us will make, you should seriously consider getting a very recent land survey. A few years ago, an industry change took place in which title companies, in certain situations, will allow the buyer to use an old survey for the closing transaction. While this approach decreases the buyers closing costs, it begs the very important question; should you trust it? Consider that a typical survey costs about one-half of one percent, or less, of the purchase price, compared to a realtor’s 3% or 6% and a loan origination of 1%.