When Should You Call a Professional Surveyor?

Is there a piece of land that needs to be surveyed and inspected? A big question to ask is whether a professional surveying service is required before moving forward with the project. Listed below are several instances when a professional team should be hired to survey the land, as well as a few general facts about the process. First Capital Engineering offers a full-service approach to professional land surveying services.

Buying Property

As in any sale, you need to know exactly what you are buying. Professional surveying services can provide you with a detailed map of the property, including important and relevant information about the land you are purchasing.

Once the property is surveyed and inspected, the property map will show you accurate details, including precise boundaries, as well as what assets are a part of the property. This includes everything from trees, sidewalks, fences and landmarks, to easements for utilities, right-of-ways and more.

Finally, a detailed survey provides you with protection once you have bought the property. You will know exactly what is on the property and if there are any encroachments or irregularities associated with the property. This will be necessary if there are any legal disputes throughout the property buying process and you can later properly defend yourself if there are any legal disputes once the property is purchased.

Selling Property

Up-to-date surveys and detailed information of your property are needed when selling. This will allow your buyer to have everything they need to make the final approval. Once the property is sold, your buyer will then be able to accomplish tasks without any worries. This may include registering the transaction with banks to make payments and reporting the sale to necessary government offices. Up to date information will also avoid headaches and legal disputes down the road caused by inaccurate information.

Adding On To the Property

If you are thinking about building, fencing, or adding on to your property in any way, you need to make sure you are not encroaching on to a neighbor’s land.

Before building, a professional land surveyor can determine the exact property boundaries. A new fence or or other structure built on a neighbor’s property can cause legal problems and added construction cost.

Allowing a surveyor to mark the location of your building on site before construction begins will also ensure that you meet requirements and other restrictions enforced by the municipality in their zoning laws. Failure to comply with zoning By-Laws could result in the loss of a future sale if the purchasers have an up-to-date survey done. Mortgage lenders generally do not advance money until zoning law infringements are cleared up.


When subdividing a piece of land, a professional surveyor is important to have involved in the process. A surveyor will handle multiple responsibilities, which include checking and ensuring the validity of the title, reviewing any planning restrictions, easements, and other potential issues. After examining the legalities, the site will be surveyed.

After the survey and prior to preparing final draft plans for the proposed subdivision, the surveyor will consult with the civil engineer to prepare the Subdivision Plan.

Securing a Mortgage

A mortgage company will require an up-to-date survey before it lends money, so that they have the legal documents needed to protect their investment. It wants to be sure that the land and buildings on which it is lending money are actually as described in the documents which accompany the transaction. If down the road there will be any foreclosures associated with the property, a professional land survey will assure that the mortgage company won’t have problems in re-selling the property.

According to Pennsylvania law, only surveys made by licensed and registered Pennsylvania land surveyors are legal. Only registered land surveyors have completed the academic requirements and practical training before licensing.


In cases of property dispute, your professional surveyor is an expert witness in court and can take full responsibility for the accuracy of your property survey. The cost of hiring a professional surveyor is worth your peace of mind knowing exactly what is on the property.

At FCE, we pride ourselves in being selected by home owners, developers and prime contractors from all over our region. We have been given excellent ratings through various contract administrators, as well as PennDOT’s ECMS portal. In recent years, FCE has also won multiple awards from the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors.

How Much Will It Cost?

Fees for surveys are determined on an individual basis. This depends on various factors such as size of the property and time required to complete the job. Prior to beginning a survey, deed research and a thorough inspection is standard. Prior to signing a proposal, estimates are provided, as well as an approximate time frame for when the survey will be performed.

What Can First Capital Engineering Do?

Do you have questions about land surveying? Let us know how we can help. First Capital Engineering provides proper engagement of professional surveying services. Call 717.845.3227 or contact us online to learn more.