What kind of survey do I need?

A survey that establishes monuments at some or all of the corners of your property and includes no drawing

We can establish some or all of the monuments that mark the corners of your property, without preparing a drawing. If you choose this type of survey, we can also send you a letter that certifies that we have established the specified monuments, that we are licensed surveyors in the State of Minnesota, that the work was done by us, or under our direct supervision, and on a certain date.


A survey that establishes monuments at some or all of the corners of your property and includes a basic drawing

We can establish some or all of the monuments that mark the corners of your property and prepare a drawing that shows the boundary of your property, the location of any buildings on the property, and any visible encroachments across your boundary lines.


A survey that establishes monuments at some or all of the corners and includes a detailed drawing

We can establish some or all of the monuments that mark the corners of your property and prepare a drawing that shows the boundary of your property, the location of any buildings on the property, and any visible encroachments across your boundary lines. We can also show any or all of the following:

  1. Easements that affect the property (if you have provided us with easement documents)
  2. Driveways
  3. Parking stalls and striping
  4. Sidewalks
  5. Patios
  6. Decks
  7. Retaining Walls
  8. Landscaped areas with edging
  9. Architectural appurtenances, such as eaves, signs, and overhangs
  10. Trees
  11. Other vegetation such as shrubs and planting beds
  12. Topography of the site by the use of contour lines at a specified contour interval and by spot elevations in flat areas or on man made surfaces, such as the top of a curb or retaining walls. This shows differences in elevation on the site and existing drainage patterns.
  13. Shoreline of a lake or stream on or adjoining the property. We can show the shoreline at the time of the survey, the ordinary high water mark, and the 100 year flood contour.
  14. We can show the approximate edge of a wetland or we can show the edge of wetland as established by flags set by your wetland delineator.
  15. Visible appurtenances to utility systems such as manholes, hydrants, valves, catch basins, power poles and telephone boxes. We can also locate painting by Gopher One in the streets or by a private locator on the site of underground lines and show them on our survey, but you will need to make arrangements to have them painted up by Gopher One (a free service) or by a private locator. We can also ask the city for record plans that show utility systems on or near your property and use those plans and the appurtenances we have located to show an approximate location as to where the buried utilities are.
  16. Other existing features that you specify.

A survey showing your proposals to divide the property

If you have plans to divide your property, there are two ways that are commonly used to accomplish this. Cities differ in which of these methods they allow.

We can show the parcels that you propose to create and prepare a legal description for them. This is less expensive than the other method of creating parcels, but it does result in longer legal descriptions and some cities do not allow this method. The drawing we prepare is submitted to the city for review and approval.

We can show the parcels that you propose to create and describe them by preparing a new plat. The idea is that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the parcels are defined as lots in a new plat that is filed in the county records. A typical legal description would be: Lot 1, Block 1, Green Hills, Hennepin County, Minnesota, for example, and the details of the location of the lot that is spelled out on the record plat of Green Hills. The city will also require a preliminary plat be filed that lays out how the subdivision will look. After the approval of the preliminary plat, a record plat is prepared for recording in the county records. This procedure takes longer because of the wait for City planning commissions and council meetings. This method typically costs more because of the elaborate documents required.

We can prepare a site plan sheet for a CIC plat that is part of the documents needed for a client, who is dividing property by creating a condominium. We work with an architect to help you with preparing the floor plan sheets, and an attorney to help you with declarations and bylaw documents, that have long experience in creating condominium documents, that we can refer you to. Under this procedure, you can sell the air space between the ceiling and the floors and within the walls of an apartment unit, for example, and the location of the space is defined by the site plan and floor plans on file at the county.


A survey showing your proposal to improve the property

We can show on a survey that depicts the existing conditions on a site and your proposals to make improvements to the property:

  1. We can show your proposal to build a new home or other buildings on the property along with associated improvements such as driveways, parking lots, utility systems, retaining walls, and grading. We can show minimum setback lines and areas to illustrate compliance with city ordinances. We can show offset points to guide placing the improvements in the correct horizontal position and a vertical benchmark to guide placement of the improvements at the correct height.
  2. We can show your proposal to add on to an existing building with associated improvements and grading.
  3. We can show your proposal to re-grade the site. This would involve preparation of a grading, drainage, and erosion control plan for your site.
  4. We can show your proposal to build a parking lot on the site.
  5. We can show your proposal to install underground utilities. This would involve preparation of engineering plans with specifications for these improvements.
  6. We can prepare plans to show measures for storm water management on a site that would control the quantity and/or quality of stormwater leaving a site along with calculations demonstrating that the rate of flow from the site will meet city requirements.

An ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey

When a property is being sold or refinanced, a lender, or attorney for a careful buyer, may require an ALTA/ACSM land title survey. These surveys are done to specifications that were designed by national associations of land title companies and land surveyors. They try to catch title problems that could significantly affect the value of a property and thus affect the value that a lender is basing their loan on or that a purchaser is basing the price they are willing to pay on. In addition to a careful survey of the property, the process involves inspections by the surveyor of the property to detect title problems such as:

  1. The property floods.
  2. Buildings on the property violate the minimum setback requirements of the city or encroach over the boundaries of the property or onto easement areas.
  3. The essential utility systems that serve the property cross a neighboring property, but there is no easement to allow this.
  4. There is no legally established way of accessing the property.
  5. The property overlaps with adjacent properties.
  6. Neighbors have been occupying or using the property and their occupation and use may have given them legal rights.
  7. The property has been used as a solid waste dump.
  8. There have been recent improvements to the property and it is possible that liens will be filed if the contractors who made the improvements are not paid.
  9. A governmental agency has plans, in the near future, to widen a right of way and take part of this property as a part of that widening.

A survey that determines whether the property is subject to flooding

Sometimes a property is used as collateral for a loan. If the lender thinks the property may be in a flood zone, they require that flood insurance be obtained and paid for by the borrower. Because of the considerable expense involved in paying insurance premiums over the years, it may make sense to have us collect data on the site and fill out a FEMA Elevation Certificate. This certificate contains information about the elevation of the lowest floor in the structure, the lowest adjacent grade and the elevation of the base flood for the neighborhood. If it turns out that the property is not subject to flooding, FEMA, on receipt of the elevation certificate, will send a letter removing the structure from the flood plain and the need for having flood insurance is removed.


Construction staking

When grading, installation of underground utility lines, concrete curbing, or architectural improvements are involved, the construction crews need to get the improvements in the correct position and we can provide stakes to guide them. Often times the cost per hour of the construction crews is far more than the surveyor involved. Therefore, we try to meet the construction schedules, to avoid delaying them, and make sure that we have clear and definite plans for the project so we can avoid mistakes.


Our services include: Marking Property Corners, Survey Drawings, New Home Surveys, Lot Split Surveys, ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys, FEMA Flood Certificates, Preliminary and Final Plats, CIC Plats, and much more.