How Long Is a Land Survey Good For? Expert Advice Explained

Land surveys are essential documents that help property owners safeguard their land boundaries. A land survey map provides precise information regarding the size, shape, and location of the land, ensuring that property owners know their exact property boundaries. But how long is a land survey good for? It’s a question that often perplexes many property owners, and for good reason.

Typically, land surveys hold their value over time, but they do have an expiration date. In general, a land survey is considered valid unless significant changes have been made to the property or surrounding area. However, even without significant changes, experts suggest that property owners should get a new land survey every 10-15 years. These timelines vary depending on factors such as future developments, zoning changes, and when the property was last surveyed.

So, why should property owners worry about how long a land survey is good for? Having an expired land survey raises questions about the accuracy of the survey and could lead to confusion in property boundaries. Ultimately, it falls on the property owner to ensure that the land survey is up-to-date. Overall, understanding when to get a new land survey is a crucial aspect of protecting your property and ensuring that you can confidently dispute any boundary disputes.

Definition of Land Survey and its Purpose

A land survey is the process of measuring and mapping a piece of land to determine its boundaries, features, and any changes to those boundaries and features. The purpose of a land survey is to determine the exact location and size of a piece of land, as well as any improvements or changes that have been made to the land or the structures on it.

  • A land survey provides legal documentation of a property’s boundaries, which can be used to settle boundary disputes between neighbors or to resolve property line discrepancies.
  • A survey also reveals any easements or encroachments on a property, such as a neighbor’s driveway that extends onto the property, which can affect the owner’s use and rights to the land.
  • Land surveys are also required by lenders and title companies before issuing a mortgage or title insurance, as they want to ensure that the property is valued accurately and there are no potential legal issues with the use of the property.

Land surveys can also be used to plan and design new constructions, such as buildings or roads, by identifying the topography, natural features, and potential hazards of the land.

Type of Survey Purpose
Boundary Survey Establishes property boundaries.
Topographic Survey Determines natural and man-made features of a property, including elevations, contours, and trees.
ALTA Survey American Land Title Association survey, commonly used for commercial properties, includes boundary lines, physical improvements, and any legal issues that may affect the property.
Construction Stakeout Survey Used to ensure that buildings or structures are constructed according to the design plans and within legal boundaries.

Overall, a land survey is an essential tool for property owners, lenders, and title companies, as it provides the detailed information needed to make informed decisions about the use, ownership, and value of a property.

Legal Requirements for Conducting Land Survey

If you’re planning to buy or sell a property, you need to be aware of the legal requirements for conducting a land survey. A land survey is a process of measuring and mapping the boundaries and features of a piece of land to determine its location, size, and physical characteristics. It’s an essential tool for legal and financial transactions involving properties, and it can help you avoid boundary disputes and other issues.

  • Before you buy or sell a property, you need to have a land survey conducted by a licensed surveyor. The survey will provide you with a detailed map of the property boundaries, along with any easements, encroachments, or other features that may impact the use and development of the property.
  • The legal requirements for conducting a land survey vary by state and locality. In some cases, a survey may be required by law before the sale or transfer of property. In other cases, it may be optional but strongly recommended to avoid potential disputes or legal issues.
  • A land survey may also be required if you’re planning to make any changes or improvements to the property, such as building a fence, adding a pool, or constructing a new building. The survey can help ensure that your plans comply with local zoning and building codes, and that you’re not infringing on any neighboring properties.

It’s important to note that a land survey is not a one-time event. The accuracy and validity of a survey can change over time, depending on various factors such as natural disasters, boundary disputes, or changes in local regulations. As such, it’s generally recommended to have a survey updated every 10 to 15 years, or whenever there’s a significant change to the property or its surroundings.

Types of Land Survey

There are several types of land survey, each serving a specific purpose and providing different levels of accuracy and detail. The most common types of surveys include:

Type of Survey Purpose Accuracy
Boundary Survey To determine the exact location of property lines and corners, and to identify any encroachments or easements. High
Topographic Survey To map the physical features of a property, such as elevation, contours, and vegetation. Moderate to high
ALTA/NSPS Survey To provide a comprehensive mapping of a property’s boundaries, improvements, and features, as required by lenders and insurers for commercial properties. High

Before commissioning a land survey, it’s important to discuss your needs and objectives with a licensed surveyor to determine the appropriate type of survey and level of accuracy required for your specific situation.

Types of Land Surveys

Land surveys are essential for property owners. They help establish the boundaries of a property and identify potential issues that may hinder the development or use of land. There are different types of land surveys, each with their own purpose. Here are the three main types of land surveys:

  • Boundary Survey
  • Topographic Survey
  • ALTA/NSPS Survey

Boundary Survey

A boundary survey determines the exact boundaries of a property. It includes marking the corners of the property, locating any existing improvements along the boundary, and identifying any encroachments by neighboring properties. A boundary survey is often requested when a property is being sold, and it is essential to prevent disputes between neighbors over property lines.

Topographic Survey

A topographic survey identifies the physical features of the land, such as natural and man-made features. It includes contour lines, elevations, and location of structures. This type of survey can help engineers and architects design buildings, roads, and other infrastructure projects. It can also be useful for environmental studies, land planning, and management of natural resources.


An ALTA/NSPS survey is a specialized type of survey that is used to provide a detailed report on a property. It includes information from a boundary survey, a topographic survey, and additional information required by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). This type of survey is often required for commercial properties, including office buildings and shopping centers, to satisfy the requirements of lenders and title companies. The ALTA/NSPS survey is more comprehensive and expensive than a regular boundary survey.

How Long is a Land Survey Good For?

A land survey typically has no expiration date. However, the information contained in the survey may become outdated if new construction, natural disasters, or other changes occur to the property. It is a good idea to have a new survey conducted if any significant changes to the property have occurred since the last survey. A land survey is an essential tool for property owners to protect their investment and ensure proper use of their land.

Type of Survey Purpose
Boundary Survey Determines the exact boundaries of a property
Topographic Survey Identifies the physical features of the land, useful for designing infrastructure and environmental studies
ALTA/NSPS Survey Includes information from a boundary survey, a topographic survey, and additional information required by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), required for commercial properties

In conclusion, a land survey is an essential tool for property owners to establish and protect their property boundaries. There are different types of land surveys available, each with their own purpose. While a land survey typically has no expiration date, it is a good idea to have a new survey conducted if significant changes to the property have occurred since the last survey.

Importance of Land Survey in Property Transactions

When buying or selling property, a land survey is an essential component of the transaction. It is often required by lenders, title companies, and real estate attorneys to ensure that the buyer is purchasing a property with a clear title, free of any encroachments or boundary disputes. A land survey provides valuable information about a property’s physical boundaries, improvements, easements, and any potential issues that could affect the property’s value or legal rights.

  • Identify Property Boundaries: A land survey accurately determines the legal property boundaries of a parcel of land. It shows where the property lines are, the location of any structures such as buildings, fences, or driveways in relation to the boundaries, and any encroachments or overlaps from neighboring properties. Knowing where the property lines are essential as it ensures that the buyer is getting the land they are paying for.
  • Resolve Boundary Disputes: A land survey can help resolve boundary disputes. If there is a dispute with a neighboring property owner over the location of a boundary line, a survey can settle the matter. It is better to clear up any disputes before a property transaction than face legal action afterward.
  • Easement identification: An easement is a right to use a portion of another person’s property for a specific purpose. A land survey provides necessary details of easements on a property that could affect its value or prevent future development. Easements can be a significant factor in a property transaction and should be identified in a survey.

When a land survey is conducted correctly, it provides a detailed and accurate representation of a property. It shows the property’s current status and a possible future use of the land. The information provided in the survey helps the buyer make informed decisions and avoid any future legal disputes. The cost of doing a land survey is minimal compared to the cost of legal costs in a boundary dispute situation. It is essential to get a land survey done during the purchase or sale of a property.

So, how long is a land survey good for? The answer is that it depends on the type of survey that was conducted, the age of the survey, and the condition of the property since the survey was conducted. Some surveys last a lifetime and only require an update if significant changes happen to the property. Others require updating every few years. Property buyers should always consult with a licensed surveyor to determine if a survey needs updating before completing a sale.

Type of Survey Validity Period
Boundary Survey Indefinite (unless there are significant property changes)
ALTA/NSPS Survey Usually valid for six months to a year
Topographic Survey May require updating every few years depending on the property changes

In summary, a land survey is an important aspect of any property transaction. It helps identify important property details, provides accurate boundary information, and potentially resolves boundary disputes and determines easements. The cost of conducting a survey is relatively low compared to the legal costs incurred during a boundary dispute. But the validity period of a land survey depends on various factors and requires updating as and when necessary.

Accreditation of Professional Land Surveyors

Professional Land Surveyors play a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy of property boundaries and land ownership rights. In order to maintain that accuracy, it is important that land surveys are conducted by qualified professionals who have met specific education and experience requirements set by their state or licensing board. Accreditation plays a significant role in verifying the qualifications of these professionals.

  • Accreditation Organizations: There are several organizations that provide accreditation for professional land surveyors. One of the most well-known is the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), which provides accreditation through their Certified Survey Technician (CST) program. Similarly, the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) provides accreditation through their Certified Survey Technician (CST) program.
  • Requirements for Accreditation: Accreditation requirements vary by organization, but generally involve a combination of education, experience, and testing. For example, the NSPS CST program requires a minimum of 2 years of experience and the successful completion of a written exam.
  • Benefits of Accreditation: Accreditation provides several benefits to professional land surveyors, including increased credibility and recognition within the industry, access to additional educational and networking opportunities, and potentially higher earning potential.

Ultimately, accreditation is an important aspect of ensuring the quality and accuracy of land surveys. By verifying the qualifications and expertise of professional land surveyors, accreditation helps protect the interests of property owners and the integrity of land ownership records.

If you are in need of a land survey, be sure to look for a professional who is accredited by a recognized organization. This will ensure that you are receiving services from a qualified and experienced professional who is committed to maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and professionalism.

Accreditation Organizations Requirements for Accreditation Benefits of Accreditation
National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) Minimum of 2 years of experience and successful completion of written exam Increased credibility, access to additional educational and networking opportunities, higher earning potential
American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) Completion of specific education requirements and successful completion of written exam Increased recognition within the industry, access to additional educational and networking opportunities, higher earning potential

Factors that Affect the Validity of a Land Survey

If you’re a property owner or planning to purchase land, getting a land survey done is a crucial step. A land survey determines the boundaries of your property, identifies any potential issues with the land, and ensures that you have legal ownership of the property. However, it’s essential to understand that the validity of a land survey is not permanent, and factors can affect its accuracy over time.

  • Natural Disasters: Natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides, can significantly alter the boundaries of your property. These events can impact the land’s physical features, such as the soil composition and elevation, resulting in discrepancies between the survey results and the actual property boundaries.
  • Property Changes: Any changes in the property, such as building new structures, can alter the land’s boundaries, impacting the accuracy of the land survey. For example, constructing a new fence or building may encroach on adjacent property, leading to disputes and legal issues.
  • Legal Disputes: Legal disputes involving your property can also affect the validity of your land survey. For instance, if your neighbor claims part of your property as their own, it can lead to boundary disputes that require a new survey to be conducted.
  • Surveying Techniques: The methods and tools used to conduct the land survey can also affect the survey’s validity. Advancements in technology have led to more accurate surveying techniques, which can provide more precise results. On the other hand, outdated or improper surveying methods and tools can lead to inaccuracies in the survey results.
  • Aging Surveys: Over time, a land survey can become outdated, particularly if no updates or changes are made an extended period. Land surveys can lose their validity as excavation, construction, and other activities can alter the boundaries of your property. It’s essential to ensure that you keep your survey up-to-date to avoid any disputes or legal issues.
  • Boundary Markers: The accuracy of a land survey also depends on appropriate boundary markers or monuments. These markers are physical structures that mark the boundaries of your property. If these markers are disturbed, moved, or removed, it can impact the accuracy of the survey results.

Ensuring the Validity of Your Land Survey

As a property owner, it’s necessary to ensure that your land survey is valid to avoid any legal issues or boundary disputes. While some aspects are beyond your control, there are some steps you can take to maintain the accuracy of your survey:

Regular Updates: It’s crucial to update your survey at least every ten years or after any significant changes or improvements to your property.

Hiring a Professional: It’s always best to hire a licensed and experienced land surveyor to conduct your survey. A qualified surveyor will use the latest techniques and technology to provide the most accurate results possible.

Inspecting Boundary Markers: Regularly inspect the boundary markers on your property to ensure that they are intact and in their proper position. If you notice any issues, contact your surveyor to update your survey.

Documenting Changes: Keep a record of any changes or improvements made to your property, so you can update your survey accordingly. This documentation can help resolve any boundary disputes down the line.

Factors that Affect the Validity of a Land Survey Ensuring the Validity of Your Land Survey
Natural Disasters Regular Updates
Property Changes Hiring a Professional
Legal Disputes Inspecting Boundary Markers
Surveying Techniques Documenting Changes
Aging Surveys
Boundary Markers

While the validity of a land survey can be affected by several factors, it’s crucial to ensure that it’s up-to-date and accurate. By taking preventative measures and hiring a licensed professional, you can avoid legal issues and boundary disputes down the line.

Common Errors in Conducting Land Survey

Land surveying is a complex and detailed process that requires precise measurements and accurate calculations. Unfortunately, many errors can occur during the surveying process, which can affect the quality of the survey and the reliability of the data obtained. Here are the seven common errors in conducting a land survey:

  • 1. Inadequate Research – Before conducting a survey, it is essential to research the previous surveys, deeds, and any relevant documents. Inadequate research can lead to incorrect boundaries, improper marking, and other issues.
  • 2. Poor Equipment Calibration – Surveying requires specialized instruments that must be calibrated correctly. Failure to calibrate equipment can cause inaccurate measurements, leading to unreliable data and incorrect boundaries.
  • 3. Inaccurate Measurements – Surveyors make measurements using sophisticated equipment, but mistakes can occur due to poor visibility, extreme weather, or other factors affecting the accuracy of the measurements.
  • 4. Misidentification of Markers – Mistaking natural features like trees or rocks for boundary markers can cause significant issues. Also, markers must be correctly labeled and identified to ensure accuracy.
  • 5. Ignoring Changes in Landscape – Landscapes are continually changing, which can shift apparent boundaries. Ignoring changes in the landscape can affect land mapping and boundary identification, leading to costly disputes.
  • 6. Lack of Knowledge on Topographic Features – Understanding the land’s topographic features is critical in surveying. The failure to identify these features can lead to incorrect land mapping, compromising land boundary identification.
  • 7. Failure to Verify Results – Surveyors must verify their measurements and results. The failure to do so can result in incorrect boundaries and liability issues.

Utilizing Land Survey for Land Development

A land survey is an essential tool when it comes to identifying the boundaries of a piece of land, determining its acreage and topography, and identifying any potential obstacles that may impede development. As such, it is an essential step in the land development process.

  • Minimizing Risks: One of the main advantages of conducting a land survey is identifying any potential risks and complications before development begins. Potential hazards such as steep slopes, easements, existing buildings, and wetlands can complicate development plans and increase project costs. A survey can help you avoid these risks.
  • Identifying Opportunities: Identifying opportunities for development is another key advantage of conducting a land survey. It helps you identify the land’s highest and best use and areas appropriate for development. For example, a land survey can uncover areas that would accommodate a more effective use of the space, suggesting alternate uses such as new buildings and parking lots.
  • Establishing Boundaries: A surveyor will use legal descriptions, boundary markers, measurements, and other information to establish the exact boundaries of the property. This will assist in determining if the land is in compliance with zoning regulations in your area.

How Long is a Land Survey Good For?

One question that is frequently asked is how long is a land survey good for? In general, there is no fixed expiration date for a land survey. However, it is important to consider that land conditions, ownership, and usage can change over time. The accuracy of a land survey can degrade over time due to natural events such as erosion or changes to the environment or nearby structures. As such, a new survey may be necessary to reflect changes in the property’s condition or usage.

In general, a land survey is valid as long as it reflects the current state of the land and the purposes for which it is being used. If the land is being redeveloped or repurposed, a new survey may be required to ensure that all aspects of the property are identically detailed in the new survey.

When is a new survey required?

A new land survey may be required when you are buying or selling a property. The survey may be requested by the lender or buyer for title insurance purposes. Additionally, if you are planning significant improvements to the property, a new survey may be necessary to identify any constraints related to the project or the current state of the property.

It is important to note that different states, municipalities, and lenders may have differing requirements with respect to land survey timelines and other aspects of these transactions. It is important to check local regulations and laws to determine a timeline for required land surveys.

When you may need a new survey Why you might need a new survey
Before purchasing a property To confirm its actual size and location; may be required by the bank or lending institution.
Before or during development or construction To get accurate measurements for building placement and height restrictions.
During lot line disputes To verify and confirm the location of property lines in order to settle a boundary dispute.

Overall, a land survey is a critical tool in the land development process. It is valuable in ensuring that the property is in compliance with all zoning regulations, identifying potential hazards, opportunities, and valuable information to maximize the land value. It is also essential to prioritize engaging a licensed surveyor when planning any future land development.

Emerging Technologies in Land Surveying

As technology advances, so do the tools and techniques used in land surveying. Surveying is a crucial part of many industries, from construction to real estate to environmental management. Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the latest technologies being used in land surveying:

  • Drones: Remotely piloted drones equipped with cameras and sensors have revolutionized land surveying. They can quickly and easily produce high-quality aerial images and 3D models of large areas of land, inaccessible or unsafe locations, and tight spaces. Drones are particularly useful in terrain mapping, monitoring site progress, managing inventory, inspecting buildings and bridges and identifying changes in the area being surveyed.
  • Laser Scanners: This technology captures precise 3D data of environments, objects or spaces using an instrument equipped with a laser. The technology makes it possible to create accurate measurements in real-time, accurate 3D models that can include details such as colour and surface texture. Laser scanning technology make it possible to survey underground tunnels and spaces that are difficult or impossible to access using traditional survey tools.
  • Hydrographic Surveying: This technology is used in marine navigation and helps map seafloors, shorelines, and waterways to check water depth and identify underwater hazards. Hydrographic survey technology has many applications in harbour and waterway management, offshore exploration, dredging projects, and construction work near water bodies.

These are only some of the many cutting-edge technologies currently being used in land surveying. Surveying has come a long way from the traditional tools like transits, theodolites, and chains. Emerging technologies in land surveying have the potential to save significant amounts of time, minimize human intervention while also improving accuracy, speed, and management of land surveys operations.

Cost of Conducting Land Survey

Getting a land survey can be quite expensive, but it is a necessary expense for anyone who wants to buy, sell or develop a piece of property. The cost of a land survey can vary depending on several factors including the type and size of the property, the surveyor’s experience and location, and the complexity of the project.

  • The average cost of a land survey ranges from $300 to $1,000 depending on the factors mentioned above.
  • Property size can be a major factor in determining the cost of a land survey. Larger properties will generally require more time and effort to survey, which will increase the cost.
  • The surveyor’s experience and location can also play a part in determining the overall cost of a land survey. More experienced surveyors and those located in higher cost of living areas may charge more for their services.

It is important to note that the cost of a land survey is a one-time expense, and the survey will typically be valid for many years to come. Depending on the area and local regulations, a land survey may be considered valid for anywhere from 5 to 20 years or more.

Here is an example of a land survey cost breakdown table:

Item Cost Range
Boundary Survey $500-$1,000+
ALTA/NSPS Survey $1,500-$3,500+
Topographic Survey $1,000-$3,000+
Construction Staking $500-$1,500+

Overall, the cost of a land survey is a necessary expense for any property transaction or development. Although it can be pricey, the value of having an accurate survey can far outweigh the cost in the long run.

Wrap Up

Well, folks, there you have it! A land survey can last a lifetime, but it ultimately depends on a variety of factors such as property changes, time elapsed, and legal requirements. Whether you’re a homeowner, landowner, or real estate professional, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on your land surveying expiration dates to avoid any legal disputes or inconveniences down the road. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Thanks for reading, and we invite you to visit us again soon for more exciting and useful content!