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Best time to survey land is before problems can arise, expert says

By Chris Jones Published: August 14, 2008
There is no requirement to have property surveyed before installing a fence, but Burk Cornelius, executive director of the Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors in Edmond, urges homeowners to proceed with caution.

"A fence contractor will install a fence wherever the homeowner wants it,” Cornelius said. "If your improvement is on someone's property, it's an encroachment, and that's not good. Be careful even if taking down an old fence and putting up a new one. The older the fence is, it often means even more of a need to have a survey.”

Fencing materials are getting more expensive Cornelius said, and though a lot of fences are built without a survey, it is best to be sure about property boundaries.

Most land surveyors charge by the hour, so land surveying cost depends on the type of survey, availability of existing records, type of terrain and other factors.

When is a survey usually needed?

•Before a land title is transferred.

•Before land is subdivided.

•Before land is developed by construction of buildings, roads or fences.

•Before a boundary dispute arises.

•Before a building or a fence is to be built near a property line.

•Before a lot is to be conveyed from a larger tract and the lot has not been surveyed.

A homeowner who doesn't get a survey may be in for a surprise when he gets ready to sell the home, Cornelius said. That's when a problem with property lines will be exposed.

For more information, go online to the Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors' Web site at



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