Thompson Engineering, Inc. is a family owned Civil Engineering and Land Surveying Company started by Lyle Thompson in 1973. Lyle is a native of Southeast Idaho, born and raised in Madison County. Lyle has worked for many public and private companies in the Northwest, including the State of Idaho and State of Utah Department of Highways.
The Below Article was featured in the Homes & Money publication in March 2008. This article is geared towards the Real Estate and Lending Market.
At Thompson Engineering, Inc., we have the privilege of working with many local Real Estate professionals, Land Developers, Title Companies, Attorneys, and members of the community. Kevin Thompson, a Licensed Land Surveyor, has attended the 45-hour salesperson Module I and II Real Estate courses. He realized that the information taught in the Land Surveying segment did not contain adequate information for people working in the Real Estate Profession. In some instances incorrect and misleading information was taught. The following are key factors in selecting and understanding what a quality Land Surveying Company should provide.
- It is important to obtain an estimate and a Work Order or Agreement for the cost of the survey. The Agreement should include what work will be accomplished and when it will be completed. To provide an estimate, the Land Surveyor needs to know the location of the Property to be surveyed. The surveyor works within the Public Land Survey System, otherwise known as Township, Range and Section. The Properties mailing or physical address does not provide the necessary information for the Surveyor. You must provide the Deed of the property that you wish to have surveyed.
- Remember, an estimate is based on the information that the Land Surveyor has access to in his office. The actual cost of the Survey may vary from the estimate due to weather conditions, (working in a foot of snow takes longer than working in the summer months), terrain, and location of the Survey. A surveyor will not be able to use GPS equipment under trees in the summer; buy would be able to utilize GPS in the winter when the leaves have fallen off of the trees. If a previous Survey was performed, but the research was incomplete or incorrect, the Survey will be wrong. It takes more time and effort to correct these surveys, than it would to do an entire survey from beginning to end.
- When a Surveying Company is retained to complete a Boundary Survey, proper research must be performed. The Surveyor must go to the Courthouse of the County that the Survey is being performed in and obtain the neighboring deeds around the deed being surveyed to check for inconsistencies between the deeds. Previous Surveys or Subdivisions may have been performed in the area that contains pertinent information to the current survey. It may be necessary to trace a deed back to the original Land Patent in the 1800's to establish Senior and Junior Title Rights. State or County Right-of-Ways or Public Utility Easements may need to be researched. Every survey is unique and requires the experience of a qualified Professional Land Surveyor to evaluate the research information and onsite Section corners to establish Deed lines.
- Many times the fence line, tree line, canal, ditch, etc. (otherwise known as the occupation line) may be understood as the Legal boundaries of the property. However, this is not always the case. Please make your clients aware that the Deed line or Tax line for the property may not match the occupation line./li>
- Only a Professional Land Surveyor has the knowledge, tools, equipment, and the Legal Authorization through the State of Idaho to inform the Public where the Warranty or Quitclaim Deed is in relationship to the occupation lines. This is accomplished through a Record of Survey that must be filed in the Courthouse of the County that the Survey was performed in as required by Idaho State Law.
- A Record of Survey is an 18" by 27" map that shows the Deed line that was Surveyed in relationship to the occupation line (fences, ditches, canals, roads) and neighboring deed lines. The Record of Survey shows what the Surveyor set for the property corners, usually a 1/2" X 30" Steel Iron rod with a Plastic cap that has the Surveyors License number on top. The Record of Survey may also show other problems.
- The following are a few of the issues that we have seen in performing local surveys.
- While surveying near Mudlake, Idaho we established a Deed line that was off the fence line 150 feet. In talking to the original owner of the property, he informed me that the fence line was constructed by "stepping off" the distance. In this instance, the fence was moved to the Surveyed Deed line.
- In a new subdivision located in Rigby, a homebuilder did not know where his Lot boundaries were located. He went to the City to have them show him the lot corners. The City went to the Subdivision and showed the homebuilder the lot pins and issued a Building Permit. After the house was constructed, the neighboring lot was sold, and the buyer asked Thompson Engineering to locate the Lot corners. Thompson Engineering discovered that the neighboring Lot owner was shown the incorrect Lot Corners by the City of Rigby, and as a result the neighboring homebuilder had built a garage 15 feet across the Lot line. The homebuilder should have contacted a Land Surveying Company and spent the $200 to have the lot corners located, which would have saved him building a $200,000 home across the lot line.
- A Boundary Survey was performed on a parcel of land that had been previously owned by a Realtor, who had also been the County Assessor. The now current land owner was told by the previous owner/realtor/assessor that the property boundaries were the fence line. When the deed lines were established through a Survey, it was discovered that the fence line was off the deed line by forty feet, and that the current land owner had built one-third of his house and well on the neighboring property. New deeds had to be created after a long and costly lawsuit with the homeowner, the previous land owner/realtor/assessor, and the neighbor was fought out in court.
There are times when a Boundary survey is not necessary, but it is always best to consult with a Registered Land Surveyor and explain the needs of you and your client and what the end result needs to be. The Surveyor can then help you determine the best course of action.