Land surveying myths title image.

Land surveying can be complicated, and the importance often overlooked. Not surprising then is that there are a variety of land surveying myths and misconceptions around the industry, and the need for a land survey in general. 

So that you can be informed and make the best decision possible about your biggest investment, here are our top five myths of land surveying:

Myth #1: I can build on my property without a survey

You think you have your property lines correct, but are you certain? If you proceed to build too close to or directly on your property line because a survey was not conducted, there can be significant consequences. You may have to tear down your hard work if you are in fact building onto a neighboring property.

Myth #2: Land surveys have a standard rate based on parcel size 

Land surveys are priced on their complexity, rather than parcel size, and several factors are considered:

• The existence of previous surveys

• The quality of existing records

• Markers and monuments in the field

• The date the land was partitioned

• The topography

• The ground level visibility

• The presence of obstacles such as fences and buildings

Myth #3: My property was already surveyed, so I don’t need to have it done again 

If your land has been surveyed in the past, but the document is missing or very old, you will want to have another survey conducted. This will ensure your property lines are valid and will help to avoid conflicts with neighbors. Even if you have the original document, it’s possible for two land surveyors to get different results, particularly if a significant amount of time has passed between surveys. 

There’s a definite risk associated with relying on an old map that was created decades ago as a lot can change over time: the property lines may have been altered due to an easement or structure that wasn’t present during the original survey, or the first surveyor’s monuments might have disappeared. 

Myth #4: Neighbors don’t question or encroach upon property lines 

While we might like to think that all neighbors are, well, neighborly, there are more conflicts over property lines that you might imagine. Surveyors can attest to the fact that disputes happen frequently. A professional land survey can clear up any confusion and establish the right property lines to help mitigate conflict. 

Myth #5: I have a fence that marks my property lines so I don’t need a survey

An existing fence, especially one that’s stood for several decades, is at best an estimate of your property line. Particularly if you didn’t build the fence, it could represent an outdated set of property lines, or it may have been erected to denote a set of guess-timated property lines that were never official. Ultimately, a fence might be nice, but it doesn’t serve as confirmation of contemporary property lines, making a new land survey is vital.


A land survey is an investment in peace of mind, both now, and down the road that your property is accurately documented and protected. With 50 years experience in land surveying in all 88 counties of Ohio, McSteen Land Surveyors is a leader in the industry. Contact us or order a survey and let our team of survey professionals take on your surveying needs.