Surveying FAQ

Q: Do I need to have a survey performed?
A: A survey should be made before purchasing real estate, dividing any parcel for sale, and prior to the construction of any structure on property in which you have an interest.
Remember, the services of a Surveyor now, will cost less in time, worry and money than the cost of moving a building or defending a lawsuit later!

Q: Do I really need a licensed Surveyor to do my survey?
A:  Yes. In Michigan Professional Surveyors must be licensed by the state to conduct surveys. Licensing is normally achieved after completing a four-year college surveying program and passing a national exam.  Only licensed Professional Surveyors can legally provide any property or boundary surveys, set property corners or mark property lines in Michigan. Anyone, who represents that they can mark your property but is not licensed, should be reported to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at
Q: Should I select the Surveyor on the basis of price?
A: No. Competency of the Surveyor is the most important aspect of every survey. Your selection should be made when you are sure the Surveyor has all the facts and is completely aware of your requirements. The fee or basis of charging for the survey should then be determined and agreed upon.

Q: Is it likely that the Surveyor I select will handle my survey completely for a reasonable fee?
A: Yes. Surveyors, like other professional people, vary in knowledge, ability and specialties and their fees may vary depending upon those factors as well.  However, because Surveyors are licensed by the state and closely regulated, our experience confirms that after the Surveyor is selected and the scope of work agreed upon, a competent Professional Surveyor will complete that work and will charge an appropriate fee. Anyone with complaints or concerns about a Surveyor can contact the State of Michigan’s Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at
Q: Can a Surveyor tell me in advance what the charge will be?
A: Survey costs usually depend on the scope of work including the kind of survey required and difficulties encountered, some of which normally cannot be anticipated in advance. The cost is then based on the time required to make the survey and prepare the necessary drawings and descriptions. You should negotiate this with your Surveyor before you authorize them to proceed.

Q: Will the Surveyor tell me what I own?
A: No. It is your responsibility to furnish the Surveyor with a legal description (i.e., the deed or title insurance policy) of what you want surveyed. The Surveyor will then locate the property on the ground, marking the corners with physical monuments. If unforeseen problems are encountered, this may require title research and additional survey work that will affect the final cost of the survey.


Q: Do I have to visit the Surveyor’s office?
A:  Although it is not usually required that you visit the Surveyor’s office, you may wish to do so to meet and speak with your Surveyor in person. Most often, however, it is adequate to transmit your instructions to the Surveyor either by telephone or letter. After explaining why the survey is needed you will be asked to provide the Surveyor with a correct description of the property you want surveyed (i.e., a copy of your title insurance policy or deed and authorization to proceed).

The Professional Surveyor renders a highly technical and complex service. As a member of a professional team – Attorney, Title Company, Surveyor, Architect, and Engineer – the Surveyor prepares the foundation upon which your entire project is based.
A Professional Surveyor is duly licensed by law to practice professional surveying and hold above all other things the accuracy of the survey work. In cases of controversy, the Surveyor may appear in court as your expert witness if necessary. No one other than the Surveyor can assume responsibility for the accuracy of the survey work.
Members of the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors have subscribed to a Code of Minimum Standards of Practice which ensures a complete and high standard of work. Anyone with complaints or concerns about a Surveyor can contact the State of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at


Whenever lands are surveyed and permanent corners are monumented, a certificate of survey may be recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds in the county in which the land is situated, if such survey meets the requirements of Public Act 132, P.A. of 1970, as amended.
The survey shall be performed and the certificate of survey prepared by a licensed Professional Surveyor in Michigan.