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What Does a Property Surveyor Do?

A surveyor uses a theodolite to survey a property.
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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2014
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A property surveyor, also often called a land surveyor, may be used during the sale of buildings and land. One of the primary jobs is to determine the boundaries of the property, typically by first looking up the property's records. The surveyor will then use electronic equipment to accurately measure the property lines, fixing them if necessary. A property surveyor can also be hired to determine the quality of a building or house before it is sold, allowing the potential buyer to be alerted to any major flaws in the structure.

Whether a buyer is purchasing bare land or there is already a structure on it, the boundaries need to be determined. Otherwise, the buyer may end up paying for space that he cannot use, because his neighbor's property may be encroaching on land that technically belongs to the buyer. At the same time, hiring a property surveyor also can ensure that the neighbor's land is not being taken over by the buyer's property, helping to avoid disputes in the future. To eliminate this problem, some buyers hire a property surveyor to look at the records of the land and determine the property boundaries. He will then measure the actual property lines to ensure that they adhere to the boundaries on record.

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If the property surveyor discovers that the boundaries of the property are incorrect, he will take steps to fix it before the purchase is complete. He may have to measure the adjacent properties before moving any boundaries to ensure that the new property lines will be correct. Property surveyors typically start this process through the use of electronic distance measuring equipment so the results are accurate. Once the proper measurements are obtained, the surveyor will then replace property corners as needed, ensuring that the buyer gets all the land for which he is paying while avoiding future legal property issues.

Property surveyors can perform additional services on land that already has a structure built on it. For example, the job of a property surveyor usually includes offering the buyer a report on the overall condition of the building, as well as issues that may need to be looked into further by a building inspector. He may run tests to determine if the walls have been damaged by water or if the wood is rotted and, therefore, unsafe. The report he offers may urge the buyer to get the property inspected more thoroughly, put a lower offer on it because of minor problems or cancel the purchase altogether because of issues that make it an unwise investment.

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