Many people dream of having a few acres in the country. Today's generation is somewhat different from the homestead movement of the 1970s. That generation wanted to go off-grid and remote. Today's homesteaders buy property a short distance from the suburbs and stay connected with full services. A professional survey is one of the most important actions when purchasing agricultural land.
A major problem with agricultural land is the lack of a modern survey. Some land hasn't been surveyed in 75 years of more. This can cause headaches when neighbors dispute a property line. Hire a professional land surveyor (such as one from Goldsmith) before purchasing your piece of the country so you know exactly what you are buying.
Who Needs Your Survey
You will refer to the survey several times over the years. Most homesteaders begin by fencing their land. The fencing company will require a copy of the survey to complete the job properly. Additionally, builders need a recent survey to complete their task of constructing a home, barn, etc.
Surveys provide more information than the boundary lines of the property. They are one of the most valuable documents you can own. Here are some of the details a professional survey includes:
Elevation - While some parts of the country have flat land, much of it has rolling hills. The varying elevation of each section is noted on your survey.
Soil Density - Building codes restrict construction to areas that have sufficient soil density to support the weight of a structure. Review the survey before making a purchase to ensure there are areas with good soil density. Some agricultural land is only good for pasture or logging.
Physical Features - Creeks, existing buildings, drilled wells, and other physical features are recorded on the survey.
Preexisting Land Rights - Agricultural land does not always transfer full rights to the new owner. For example, your survey should include details about mandatory access to neighbors whose property does not border the street.
Expect some discrepancies if a piece of land hasn't been surveyed in several decades. The methods today are more accurate. Moreover, physical features change over time, such as an equipment shed being built or a creek bed drying up and collapsing.
Make sure the new survey is recorded at the courthouse to protect your legal rights should there be a dispute. Although a professional land survey adds to your closing costs, it is your best protection against any problems that arise.