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Here are some common questions we encounter from homeowners regarding their property.

Why do I need a survey?

I noticed strange abbreviations on my survey like POB and IP FND.  What do all these annotations mean exactly?

Why do surveys cost so much?

How do I know where my property lines are?

How do I know if my corners were ever set?

How do I find my property corner markers?

Question: Why do I need a survey?

Answer:  Many times, a survey is required by the lending institution.  That's the easy answer.  More importantly you need a survey to; alert you to  encroachments, recover or set corner markers and assist in the resolution of boundary disputes.  It may also help you find out who owns the big tree near the property line that invariably leans over someone's house.   Some homeowners use their surveys years later to obtain local permits for pools, sheds, additions or other applications.

Question: I noticed strange abbreviations on my survey like POB and IP FND.  What do all these annotations mean exactly?

Answer:  You're right, there are a lot of strange abbreviations on surveys these days.  Its not that we are trying to create a secret code or anything like that.  Keep in mind that we as surveyors are trying to represent a piece of land, with numerous physical improvements and features on a small piece of paper.  Things can get kind of crowded.  Some common abbreviations you may see on your survey are:        

POB                Point of Beginning, as in the initial point in a legal description.

IP FND            Iron pin or iron pipe found.

IP SET            Iron pin or pipe set.

MON FND      Monument found.

R/W                 Right-of-way

Question:  Why do surveys cost so much?

Answer:  Surveying involves specialized skills, training, equipment and licensure.  As in all fields, costs for transportation, insurance, equipment and labor have risen dramatically in recent years.  Considering the cost of real estate today, a good survey is a valuable investment.  

Question:  How do I know where my property lines are?

Answer:  Property lines are generally marked at corners.  In New Jersey, statutes require that corner markers are of a metal composition and are at least 18" in length.  Each marker set by a Licensed Surveyor in New Jersey must also have a cap indicating the name and license number of the surveyor.  Often times having markers at corners of long lines or in heavily wooded areas is not sufficient to delineate a property line.  In those cases, your surveyor can set intermediate stakes along the line.

Question:  How do I know if my corners were ever set?

Answer:  This question raises a troublesome issue.  Did you order your surveyor NOT to set the corners when the survey was done?  If you didn't, then by law they were supposed to be set as part of the survey.  The trouble comes in when the survey was ordered by your representative (an attorney for instance), and they sign a work order indicating the corners are not to be set.  In that case, the surveyor is not obligated to set the corners.  In the absence of any signed document by the "ultimate user" (that's you the homeowner), or your agent, the corners must be set.  Check your survey for annotations near the corners of your property as listed in the question above.  Depending on the age of your survey, corners set or found in the recent past should still be there.  Of course, there are instances where corners are obliterated during construction or even by acts of vandalism.

Question:  How do I find my property corner markers?

Answer:  Corner markers can be difficult to find.  Even after only a year or two, markers can be obscured by vegetation, storage piles or just green grass.  We utilize a special device called a magnetic locator to find buried metallic markers.  If you are certain the corners were there at one time or another, and can find at least one, you may be able to recover the rest by measuring distances that one corner.  Surveyors are careful to perpetuate existing corner markers each time they are recovered by using brightly colored flagging, stakes and/or florescent paint to mark their location.



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