When the neighbor calls……Posted by Lookinatchya on December 14, 2019 at 6:38 pm
Questioning a my survey, I used to try and be polite and explain how I arrived at my corner locations. I find that most times it is futile to attempt to explain all of the elements that go into a boundary determination. Most of the time they have no clue of what you are trying to explain, and can only say they think my survey is wrong. Not having a survey of their own and going off what they have always thought was their boundary.
One of my competitors just tells them, as a policy they do not discuss their client’s survey with anyone except the party that is paying for the survey. If you do not like my results, hire your own surveyor. I’m thinking this the way to go.
- 39 Replies
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 6:50 pm
It’s probably worth a short time to try explaining and see if they are going to understand and accept it. A long lecture is fruitless if they aren’t receptive..
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 8:15 pm
No way, Jose. I??m in the middle of two of these right now and I made it a point to involve the neighbors. In one case in particular, the person paying me is being the dick. But the line is the line, and when the neighbor wanted to know what was going on I was more than happy to explain to him how and why I reached the conslusion I did. And that if he??d been the one paying me that the answer would have been the same. And that this is exactly the enigmatic nature of the surveyor??s job: that we are paid by one person, but our client is really the public. He was very understanding and appreciative of my time (about 20 minutes).
The other case has nothing to do with line location, but instead title. And it??s hairy. But again the neighbor is remarkably reasonable and willing to listen to the evidence at hand. It will ultimately be negotiated out, and I??d like to think that??s at least in part due to my willingness to lay all my cards out for everyone involved before it got contentious.
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 9:12 pm
I guess it depends on what you want your reputation to be. The word “professional” should mean something. Of course there will be those people that any conversation will go nowhere, but if we are accountable to the public, that is kind of the gig. Now if they simply want to argue I go with “I recommend you hire a licensed surveyor to perform a survey for you.” and end the conversation. I find that when the conversation is had before the survey has been finished, it goes much better. We should be listening anyway, or has everyone forgot what “parole” evidence is? I say, go the extra step, stop when you realize it is futile, but always be the professional.
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 9:12 pm
My states are recording states, so the survey map is public record. So I’m willing to share the results with anyone, and my map is the best way I can think of to do it . If someone really needs a detailed explanation I’m going to want to do that in person, not over the phone. So I’ll invite them into the office for a conference. I have the advantage of being able to say that the County Surveyor has reviewed my map – although they don’t really review for the veracity of my solution.
What they really want to know, usually, is why the survey is being done. I can’t share that even if I know.
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 9:23 pm
The real bad ones are the neighbors who pretend to be nice in an effort to get some dirt on your client.
I have never surveyed a day in my life for the public. I work ethically and honestly for my client. The public benefits from my adherence to NC rules, but solving my client’s problem is my primary objective. I am careful to explain to clients that I can’t turn water into wine and I can’t turn a 9.75 acre parcel into a 10.00 acre parcel.
My default position is to assume everything my client says to me is in confidence. In Maine, a client can forbid me from discussing specifics such as encroachments and erroneous corners.
In NC I’ve found nothing in the rules that compel me to give valuable data to a non paying entity. If it is already in the public records I have no problem discussing it with them. With a little tact, one can gather evidence and dodge questions without compromising on professionalism.
As my uncle used to say, “You can say what you mean without being mean”. If a neighbor disagrees with me about my boundary determination based only on his feelings, I try to be polite and will ask if he wants copies of the deeds I pulled. If he’s a real prick, let it be an attorney or a judge that tell him he needs to hire a surveyor.
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 9:58 pm
When there is confusion among the neighbors about their common boundary lines and monuments, I give each one of them the opportunity to produce and allow me to view their own papers and copy them to add to what other information I have gathered in order to analyze and make my decision.
Many people get a survey and have a drawing or property descriptions that they have never recorded or used in their deed transfers. Some are useful and worthy and others are not more than a paper of lines and numbers.
The real test is to go back in time to when the parcels were created and reproduce what was the original intention of the grantors.
Basically, when I am on the ground setting a monument it is what it is people and if you really want to know the why then allow me to put all of this on paper and I will gladly sit down with everyone and explain the details that brought me to the decision I have made.
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 10:24 pm
When I would get a call like that I use to tell the “neighbor” that the stakes weren’t necessarily on his or her property line….they were on my client’s property line.
A few of the smarter ones would ask me, “Doesn’t that mean it would be my property line also?” I would them that I wouldn’t know unless they hired me to survey their property. 😉
- MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 10:30 pm
Sometimes the neighbor knows something that you don’t, yet, and it is worth the time to talk and more importantly, listen.
Sometimes, the neighbor “just knows” where the line is, and when pressed, you discover he never had a survey, has only been there a short while, did not even learn where the line is from his realtor. Then, you smile, say thank you, and go back to work.
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 2:27 am
In the past there have been some instances where the neighbors were helpful and provided useful information. In my state it is not necessary to record you survey map if it does not create any new lines. This type of information can be useful and only found if someone volunteers.
However, as time passes, the neighbors are mostly clueless, paranoid or belligerent. They have more questions than information and I am starting to think this is becoming a real problem. A problem because I need to concentrate on many intricate details when on site. Anything I miss will require a return trip.
Sarcastically, I think of saying to them “Do I come to your office and ask questions about how you arrange your desk?”
Seriously though, I am working on a solution to this that does not involve interaction with them except to politely ask for any information they may have about the location of their boundaries. Also writing some information about the process of a survey to hand out may help them understand a little.Historic Boundaries and Conservation Efforts
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 3:50 am
*your survey map*Historic Boundaries and Conservation Efforts
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm
I agree with talking to the neighbors about any knowledge they may have of unrecorded surveys and such. On bigger jobs, I actually send out a letter to all the adjoining property owners notifying them that I will be in the area surveying their neighbors property and if they have anything to share or have a problem with incidental trespass, to let me know. This is usually very helpful.
I’m talking about the belligerent ones that can offer nothing except, “That doesn’t look right. What did you use as your starting point?” etc. I had a guy tell me once that his deed said the line was so many feet off his front porch. Of course I had all the deeds and even went back to the court house and ran his chain back. No mention of a porch in any of the deeds. Don’t pizz down my neck and tell me it’s raining.
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 2:58 pm
That would be in-line with my experience. Deed is a professional term of art for Lawyers and Land Surveyors, it means and is limited to the actual Deed. But for lay people it is often understood to mean the entire 3″ thick packet they got from the Title Company. Anything in there, including the Tax Roll data sheet, is part of their “Deed.”
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 4:37 pm
If you do not interact with the adjoiners, you leave them with the option of hiring another surveyor, hiring an attorney, or going to the board with a baseless complaint. Which one doesn’t cost the adjoiner anything? And, I am quite certain that if that complaint includes the fact that the surveyor will not talk to them, it doesn’t help the situation.-All thoughts my own, except my typos and when I am wrong.
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 4:43 pm
Surveyors cannot “work for” anyone in some sense. They must work for the cadastre. We do not make boundary decisions and determinations based on what benefits the person paying us, we make those determinations based on the laws, rules, and traditions that govern our profession. If that isn’t what we do, we are no longer the second oldest profession, but the oldest.
When you survey a line, you survey the property of at least two different parties. If you set corners at my boundary, you have a professional obligation to stand behind them as a professional. I am glad I am in a recording state.-All thoughts my own, except my typos and when I am wrong.
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 4:46 pm
What did my weekend alter-ego say that suggests to you that I wouldn’t interact? I’m more than happy to. I just don’t want to try to explain the content of maps over the phone. If the person has legitimate concerns they should be willing to come in for a sit down, face to face, on my turf.
- MemberDecember 16, 2019 at 4:49 pm
Just walked through a $4 million dollar residential property with an owner. She thought her land went to the fence because the realtor told her so. Well, the corners we found told a different story. She didn’t really care (big lot plenty of room, and she was completely reasonable).
I was left shaking my head about how you don’t get a survey when you buy a $4 million property, but hey they know lots of things I don’t, because I couldn’t afford the property taxes on her home.-All thoughts my own, except my typos and when I am wrong.
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