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Here is Why You Shouldn’t DIY Your Land Surveys

Everyone wants to save money and pick the affordable option for the needs of their property. After all, hiring professionals is expensive… But one corner you should never cut is in surveying your property. Read on with us at Joseph M. Petito Land Surveying & Civil Engineering to find out why that is!

Popular DIY Land Surveying Options (and why they probably won’t work for you)

There are a number of DIY options that people like to choose from when they decide to DIY their land surveys. Unfortunately, this usually leads to a number of problems for these bold homeowners. Take a look at this overview of  a few of the more popular DIY land surveying options

Common Household Items

A common method for DIY land surveying is to simply gather some tools from the garage and get to work measuring the boundaries of your property. There are many problems with this approach. Among the most glaring are that your measurements will likely be completely inaccurate (as there are no tools to help offset the inevitable human error factor) and professional land surveyors carry many expensive tools to mitigate the possibilities of an inaccurate reading, tools that you likely do not own.

Using a Photogrammetry Method With an iPhone App

As the digital age continues to steamroll forward, apps are opening up more and more opportunities for people to take initiative on increasingly complex projects in their lives, which is fantastic. But when it comes to land surveying, this should be a no-fly-zone for most people. For one, the proper applications can be intensely expensive and you will probably not get your money’s worth from your investment. Even if you are able to spend the money, the likelihood of human error is still just as high, even with some of these admittedly sophisticated softwares. Ultimately, this route will likely waste time and money, and bring you no closer to truly understanding your property.

Using a DSLR Camera and Tripod

Many people use this as a quick and dirty leveling transit method. The idea is that you can use a basic equation to gather your readings and ascertain the Hi from the data you gather. This is a big project to take on all on your own, and it also is dependent on you already owning a DSLR camera and tripod. This method is riskier in terms of inaccurate data than the photogrammetry method, and is also not one that any professional land surveyor would recommend.

Using a Laser Level

The general idea of this method is that you buy or rent a laser level and use it to survey your land, in tandem with some of the other options that we talked about, to get the data you need. There are a lot of downsides to this method, most of which have to do with the frustrations of measuring out your grid and the fact that you will likely have to do this only at night, which increases the risk of injury and ultimately results in a frustrating, often fruitless experience.

We’ve gone over some of the most popular DIY methods and pointed out there flaws, but the issue runs deeper. DIY land surveying is a fundamentally flawed concept, but in what ways? Let’s take a look.

DIY Land Surveying is Likely to Cause Legal Issues Down the Road

One of the top reasons to get a land survey involves making sure that your property’s boundaries are legally understood and recognized by the state that you live in. Properly, legally recognized documentation of your property’s boundaries are absolutely essential for any home or property owner. This is for a number of reasons, including:

Legal Disputes Among Neighbors

This could be an argument as simple as “your fence is on my property” or “you can’t plant your tree there, that’s my property”. It could also be even more dire if you’re hoping to undergo a complex building project or planning on making improvements to your property. You need receipts, and legally certified, professional land surveyors are the people that will give you those receipts. If you do it all on your own, it won’t be legally documented and you’ll probably end up having to get an official  land survey done at some point anyway.

Buying and Selling Property

To accurately determine the value and potential dangers of a property, a proper survey is an absolute must. No purchase of property should be made if a legal document of that property’s details and boundaries aren’t included. Whether you’re buying or selling, getting a proper survey is an absolute must.

Land Surveying Can Also Be Dangerous

Better safe than sorry is really the phrase here. Land surveying is active, dirty work. If you have health issues or if you have property with a lot of potential hazards like molehills, sudden drops, poisonous creatures, or something to that effect, you do NOT want to be dealing with those things alone. Even if you feel that you know your property like the back of your hand, it’s always best to hire someone that’s fully equipped to deal with all of the things land surveying throws their way.

Land Surveyors Are Certified Professionals For a Reason

It’s not that you’re incapable of performing a land survey on your own, given the proper equipment, knowledge, and time, anyone could. The issues are human error, lack of equipment, legal constraints, and general occupational hazards. We would never discourage anyone from wanting to learn more about our wonderful trade, but we heavily recommend that you hire a professional for such an important role.

At Joseph M. Petito Land Surveying & Civil Engineering, we offer a wide assortment of services that can handle the needs of just about any property owner.

If your property is located in Locust Valley, NY or the surrounding areas, shoot us an email. We’re more than happy to help with any land surveying/civil engineering needs you have.

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