This is the first of what we hope to be a contribution to the many regular monthly readings that you have on your “To Do List” so I will attempt to keep it brief. If you are not familiar with our company or what we do for the real estate community beyond the everyday effort of land surveying we hope that you will check in from time to time and get to know us a bit more.
To start with, many folks do not know that we are also a TREC Certified MCE Provider. Yes, like SABOR or The Champions School of Real Estate, we too have CE classes (offered at no-charge) that we have put together in the hopes of helping our clients better understand a few of the reasons that we do what we do, and sometimes cannot do what you ask us to do.
Since this is an “Introductory Article” I will not get on my soap box, just yet, but I do want to take this opportunity to share with you an important bit of information that may explain one of the many frustrating situations that presents itself from time to time here at work; The “Survey the house at 123 Anywhere Street” situation.
In the first of our Six classes, and as a lead-in into how to properly order a survey from a Land Surveyor, it is mentioned that we only know of 2 entities that do their job given an address alone, the United States Postal Service, and Tom-Tom (or any other GPS navigational service out there). With an address alone these entities go down the road to a point and say “you are here”.
As land surveyors we are bound to locate property by a Legal Description. Then, and only then, report to the client the address that is above the door (in the hopes that it is the correct house). Too many times our phone rings and a person driving down the road says “I am too busy to fill out an order form, can you do it for me?”. The answer is almost always “No, we cannot”. Now, let me explain…..
In my 38 years of surveying it has been more than once that I have gotten a call from a person saying “I went to the site this weekend and your markers are not where my sign is”. My reply to the caller is usually “You had better go move your sign”. Not that I feel that we as a company are always perfect, this is merely a simple example. An address is a series of numbers subject to many errors. While driving one might simply transpose, misread or just forget the correct numbers in the address. The ordering party may have the numbers right but they were actually given to them incorrectly. Let us just say that there are many reasons an address can be wrong and leave it at that.
Now, in my world, if we are given a proper legal description, and after a cursory research effort to confirm the description is indeed the property the client wants surveyed, a crew is sent to the field to locate the site. Let us first use the example of undeveloped property like a new subdivision or large acreage land sites where there are no houses or other readily available points of reference to a particular lot to the non-surveyor. It is difficult to simply walk up to a property and say “I am here”.
The Land Surveyor, after being given a proper legal description, locates the property, marks the boundary on the ground if possible and in the case of a Title Survey shows what is readily visible thereon. This being what the underwriters at the bank and the examining attorneys at the title company are interested in. Simple, right???
But, there is another reason that we require that you fill out the survey order form. Let’s take a harsh look at reality as I see it. Let’s say that we are given an incorrect address, and we go to the site willy-nilly, and once there the survey crew is in the backyard measuring down the side of a house and the owner or tenant wakes up at 10am in a bad mood with a shotgun in his hands… well, you get the picture. The bottom line here is that when we are asked by the Owner, Tenant, Neighbor, Police or Insurance Company (heaven forbid) what business do/did we have for being there we had better be able to produce a document given to us with an authorized person’s name on it.
Until Next Time, Be Safe,