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Three Types of Land Surveys: Is this my Property Line?

A significant legal myth in the purchase of property is boundary lines. When a home is purchased, even a new home, the mortgage company typically requires a “survey.” There are three types of real estate surveys.

With improved real property (which means a structure is built upon it), a purchase and mortgage usually requires a boundary survey. This is a legal term of art and generally means the property is the size described, such as a one-half an acre and the improvement (typically a home) is within the legal boundaries of the property.

These are the least expensive of surveys. If for some reason this survey is incorrect and the structure or home is not within the property, there is a claim by the landowner and mortgage holder against the title insurance company. This is different from a “staked” survey or “legal” survey.

A staked survey is one where a surveyor goes to certain established boundaries and measures from these places. This allows the surveyor to put a surveyors’ pin or “stake” in each boundary mark of the real estate. This can be used for purposes of putting up a fence and ensuring it is on your property. These are typically several hundred dollars.

In rarer cases, where there is a dispute about surveys themselves, a “legal” survey may be necessary. The requirements are not only set out by rules to be a professional surveyor but also by statute. They require significant requirements, such as strict notice provisions of landowners who might be impacted.1

Where your land is in dispute and there is threatened or actual litigation, all of these surveys may be relevant to determining the true boundaries and who might be liable for mistakes. We hope you find this material useful to educate you about any such issue you face. This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. and is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, or solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle civil and criminal appeals from all Indiana state trial courts, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or United States Supreme Court.

  1. Lane Alan Schrader Trust v. Gilbert, 974 N.E.2d 516 (Ind.Ct.App.2012)

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