When looking to buy undeveloped land, it is critical to research the local zoning laws. Zoning laws dictate how land can be used, and can have a significant impact on the value of the property.

There are four main types of zoning: residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial. Residential zoning is the most common, and typically allows for single-family homes, duplexes, and small apartment buildings. Commercial zoning allows for businesses such as office buildings, retail stores, and restaurants. Industrial zoning is for factories, warehouses, and other heavy industry.

The What

The primary goal of land surveying is to establish and define property boundaries. It involves the precise measurement of distances, angles, elevations, and boundaries of land and other geographic areas. Land surveyors use specialized equipment, techniques, and mathematical calculations to gather and interpret data, creating accurate representations of the physical features of the land. Most land buyers just use it for establishing their property boundaries as needed.

The Why

Why you need a land survey depends on what you need to use the land for. However, it’s always a good idea to have your land surveyed for let’s call it–peace of mind! Land surveyors will accurately measure and map your land parcel, property lines and define legal boundaries.

There’s a certain orientation that happens when you know the simple four-corners of your lot! Of course, land surveyors can tell you much more than that. Their expertise is invaluable in cases of land disputes, partitions, easements, encroachments and what not! However, with or without luck, you’ll most likely stay out of this sort of trouble, especially if you’ve bought your lot off-grid. Land is an easy and quick buy (especially when using Magna’s services). It’s one of those safe investments too! But we’ll talk about that another time or you can read about it here.

Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to do a quick search in your area for land surveyors and call a few to get an idea of pricing–the closer they are to your lot, the cost would be less. So, good idea to call and talk to at least a couple of land surveyors before you decide on one.

The How

Land surveyors employ a range of instruments and technologies to accurately determine property lines. These tools enable them to measure distances, angles, and elevations, and obtain precise data for establishing boundaries. Here are some commonly used instruments and technologies in land surveying:

GPS: The Global Positioning System (GPS), allows surveyors to obtain precise positioning data. GNSS receivers receive signals from satellites to determine the latitude, longitude, and elevation of specific points. By utilizing multiple satellites, surveyors can achieve highly accurate measurements for establishing property boundaries.

Electronic Distance Measurement Tools: EDM tools are used to measure distances between points.

GIS: GIS technology allows surveyors to store, analyze, and manage spatial data related to property lines. GIS software enables surveyors to overlay maps, integrate survey data with other spatial information, and generate detailed reports.

The selection of instruments depends on factors such as the size of the area to be surveyed, the desired level of accuracy, and the environmental conditions. Professional surveyors are experts, so they truly know what they’re doing with these instruments!

The When and Where:

Once you’ve contacted a few land surveyors, you’ll soon come to realize that most of them are at least 3-4 weeks out! Well, unless its deep winter and builders have gone into hibernation, which is rare. If you’ve bought a lot near a developing area even if it’s rural, you might not get an appointment with them for a couple of weeks, so plan accordingly.

Here’s a list of surveyors in the Shenandoah county for your reference. The typical price range here for a half acre lot is around $800-$1200 depending on the area.

Land surveying is not essential after you buy land, however, if you plan on having cattle, putting up a fence or building on it, it is useful to know where your boundaries are. It empowers you to manage your land effectively and responsibly while maximizing its value and potential.