SURVEYORS, CIVIL ENGINEERS, AND THE ROLE THEY TAKE IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION. When a Buyer and a Seller agree to terms in a property transaction, one of the trades involved is usually a SURVEOR. Surveyors check or establish the legal Lot/Block description and/or the metes and bounds description. They are independent and set their own rates. Typical rates in Fredericksburg for a residential property often run $600 – $1,000. In the country, rates can vary much more depending on the size of the acreage and the density of the vegetation the surveyor must see through to establish a line of site. Typical rates for acreage properties may run from $1,000 to $10,000. Another factor which may affect pricing is the certification a surveyor has to put on a drawing. Certified surveys which many lenders insist on will cost more because a surveyor has more work to do and more risk when he stamps a certification on the survey.
Buyers and Lenders often want to know exactly where the boundaries lie and whether or not there are any easements or encroachments that may affect the utility or enjoyment of the property. For instance, a Buyer may be prohibited from building a detached garage under a power line easement or on top of a drainage channel. The right of way for a road may extend well into the yard of a home; that could mean traffic could someday be potentially close to the front door someday. Another question that sometimes comes up especially on rural property is whether or not the subject property has legal access to a road and whether or not another party has the right to travel through the subject property in order to access their own property.
In the old days, surveyors often measured distance in varas rather than linear feet or miles. In one of my real estate classes years ago, the professor, a civil engineer, told us about old ranch boundaries measured in terms of “two cigarettes on a mule’s back!” In other words, how far would it take for a mule to walk along a line while the rider smoked two hand-rolled cigarettes? Often the legal description referred to a definitive point such as a “meandering creek with a 6” pecan on the north bank.” Someone eventually figured out that pecan trees grow or die and may not be a lasting monument, so today the definitive boundaries are often numerically located in directions, degrees, seconds, and minutes.
When you want a loan, when you want to refinance, when you are trying to locate boundaries to build a fence or build something without encroaching on a setback requirement, you may need a surveyor. They can be a little crotchety if you approach them without knowing what you are doing, but that is where a good Realtor can help.
Texas Hills Realty LLC has worked with many of the local surveyors. Surveyors with higher designations such as the RPLS (Registered Professional Land Surveyor) may cost more, but we can help you in choosing the right surveyor for the work you need done. Give us a call if we can help.