6 Tips For a Property Boundary Survey
A boundary survey is a key process in maintaining your property and protecting you from any legal disputes with your neighbour.
If you’re in the process of locating your property boundaries—perhaps to support you during boundary claims, or during the installation of fencing—there are a number of factors to consider, from finding the right professional help, to knowing what to do on the day of the survey, to the long term safekeeping of your property boundary records.
1. Be cautious of old surveys and natural ‘boundaries’
If you have an older survey plan to hand, remember that this only represents a snapshot of the property at the time it was surveyed. As a result, it may not accurately reflect the property today, so you shouldn’t assume that those existing boundaries are the real and legal boundaries of a property. This is especially common on rural properties (such as farms) where a natural boundary—like a river, creek, or ditch—may divide the land, but the boundary survey may determine that the legal boundaries lie elsewhere.
2. Check your surveyor’s credentials
Boundary work in NSW can only be done by a registered surveyor, so do your due diligence when making your hiring decision. A good place to check is the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information (BOSSI)—a government body that gives surveyors their registration, who offer an online register to find and check registered surveyors.
Land surveyors typically do their job without any drama, but you should still be sure your surveyor is skilled in boundary surveys, will communicate with you regularly throughout the process, and has professional accreditation.
Your surveyor should also have the right liability insurance in place. While it’s incredibly rare for things to go wrong, your surveyor will be legally liable if they make a mistake on the job, for example, damaging a pipe or fencing as they assess the property—so they should still have coverage in place.
You may also want to check the quality of the equipment your surveyor uses. Here at C&A Surveyors, we use the latest, state of the art equipment—from navigational software to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) programs—which ensures faster delivery times and better survey accuracy for our customers.
3. Walk the property and mark the boundaries
When your land surveyor arrives to assess your property boundaries, you may want to walk the property with them. Your surveyor may point out the important topographical markers on your property (and sometimes neighbouring properties), giving you a better understanding of the land while providing the opportunity to ask any important questions.
A common reason property boundaries are contested is because they were never formally established in the first place—or never made clear to the current owners. So, it’s important for your surveyor to be specific with their descriptions and accurate in their reporting. Vague terms like “around the tree” make it difficult to understand the exact extent of the property, so your surveyor will peg the property boundaries as a legal requirement of the process.
4. Get everything in writing
This may sound like common sense advice for anything involving home ownership, but always get your survey results in writing. Your surveyor will provide you with a boundary report and sketch plan, which are useful legal records should any issues arise with a neighbour or when it’s time to install new fencing.
Within the documents, your surveyor should provide you with a written statement that summarises what work was done and a sketch plan outlining the property boundary. This is particularly important so you have a copy of your property plan and supporting letter about your property details.
5. Due your due diligence
This advice is particularly helpful before buying a new property, but in some cases, your boundary survey may show that the property lines actually reduce the property size from what was advertised, for example, by existing fences encroaching on the neighbours property. In most cases, land is priced based on its dimensions and property lines. If those aren’t accurate, you may be being overcharged and should look to negotiate a more reasonable price.
This is where land surveyors provide helpful advice for property buyers—especially for first time buyers who haven’t bought a property before—determining your property dimensions, and whether you can install fencing based on the property boundaries.
6. Talk to your neighbour
Before hiring your land surveyor, we recommend talking to your neighbour to keep them in the loop. In some cases, it’s possible to jointly hire a surveyor, which will help you split costs, but more importantly, it will keep you both informed and up to date about your property boundaries.
In cases where you’re getting a boundary survey because of a dispute—perhaps over the location of a new fence (and who’s responsible for its upkeep)—this is again where it’s important to keep a written record of events, and even document everything through photos and videos.
Why choose C&A Surveyors for your boundary survey?
C&A Surveyors is one of Sydney’s leading land surveyors. We’re established in boundary surveying across the NSW building industry and are known for using the latest in surveying technology and state of the art equipment to get you fast and accurate results, every time.
Working with C&A surveyors means you can expect a dedicated one-point contact who will seamlessly manage your project, be onsite within 48 hours, and provide consistent, supportive communication throughout.
Contact us today and let’s get your boundaries surveyed, hassle-free.