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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a Boundary Survey ?
A Boundary Survey is normally required when purchasing real property that is being financed by a lender. The lender usually requires a Commitment for Title Insurance to help protect their assets. The Title Insurance company in turn will provide an exception to the Policy if no Boundary Survey is provided. Their concern is with encroachments, overlaps, boundary line disputes and any other matters which would be disclosed by an accurate survey and inspection of the premises. The purpose of the survey is to confirm the property's correct location as stated in the legal description, to disclose aforesaid matters and to show constructed improvements as may exist. You should have your new property surveyed even if you are not financing. The survey will not only disclose discrepancies as may exist, it will also show fence lines, sheds, and other improvements to the property and their relationship to the boundary line between you and your neighbor.           

When is an Elevation Certificate required ?
An Elevation Certificate is required if the property you are financing is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The SFHA is based on the appropriate Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for your property. If your home-owners insurance policy includes flood insurance, the rates are based on the elevation of your home in relation to the Base Flood Elevation as shown on the FIRM. The Elevation Certificate is a certified form that contains all the necessary information for this purpose. 
 An Elevation Certificate is also required by local municipalities on new construction to insure that the structure is built above the Base Flood Elevation. 

What is the Special Flood Hazard Area and a Base Flood Elevation?
 The Special Flood Hazard Area is the area subject to flooding by the 1% annual chance flood. The 1% annual flood (100-year flood), also known as the base flood, is the flood that has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Areas of Special Flood Hazard include among others: Zone A; No Base Flood Elevations determined, Zone AE; Base Flood Elevations determined, Zone V; Coastal flood zone with velocity hazard (wave action); no Base Flood Elevations determined, and Zone VE; Coastal flood zone with velocity hazard (wave action); Base Flood Elevations determined. The Base Flood Elevation is the water-surface elevation of the 1% annual chance flood.

"Can't you just GPS it?" 
 GPS has been in use in land surveying since the early 1990's. Survey-grade GPS enables us to accurately locate boundary corners in the field without the former need for line of sight between them. It is another tool that we utilize in performing our work. The limitation of GPS is not necessarily a physical one, rather a lack of known coordinates (latitude/longitude) for the boundary corners. Almost all real property in Florida is tied to the Government Land Office section corners as originally set in the 1800's. These corners were surveyed with very crude measuring devices, and coordinates (latitude/longitude) were not determined. Since that time, parcels have been created based on these section corners using more sophisticated equipment, but many of these parcels were created before the advent of GPS. Even today it is not common practice to prepare a legal description containing coordinates as calls to real property corners. Therefore, the boundary corners as described in the parcel's deed are lacking coordinates (latitude/longitude) that would enable us to find or re-establish them with GPS.
 A Boundary Survey is prepared in accordance with the recorded legal description for that parcel. Since most legal descriptions don't contain coordinates (latitude/longitude) defining the boundary corners, the boundary lines must be physically tied to the calls on the description that do exist. Please note that the bearing courses as shown on metes and bounds descriptions are usually based on an assumed datum and are not to be confused with latitude and longitude. 

Please note that this section is only intended to provide some insight into Land Surveying. Always consult your lender, title company or the appropriate county, state or municipal agency for a better understanding of their rules, regulations and requirements.   
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