Survey or ILC?
Provided as a courtesy. Contract a Registered Land Surveyor for professional service in locating your property line and/or an Attorney for legal advice regarding your rights as a property owner.
Improvement Location Certificates (ILC's)
If you are currently in the process of buying a residential house or property, your mortgage company or title insurance company may require you to obtain an Improvement Location Certificate (ILC). An ILC assures the mortgage and title companies that all of your property's improvements (decks, fences, house additions, etc) remain within your property lines, and do not encroach on neighboring properties. Additionally, the improvement location certificate determines that none of your neighbors have built or improved anything that crosses over onto your land. By ensuring that structures are located on the proper side of the deed lines, the title company reduces its exposure to potential property line disputes.
An Improvement Location Certificate will generally show the major structures, distances from structures to the deed property lines, and may also show easement areas. In the majority of cases, an Improvement Location Certificate will clearly show that a property has no encroachments, and will be sufficient for most mortgage companies. However, if an obvious encroachment exists, or if surveying shows a possible or debatable encroachment, you may want a more detailed land survey plat or a monumented land survey. These generally have more precise error tolerances.
Full Survey or Stake Survey
What is a survey stake?
When land is surveyed, metal stakes, also known as “irons” or “monuments”, marks the corners of the lot. These markers are typically a hollow, metal pipe, approximately 1/2 inch in diameter and 1.5 feet long. Newer stakes may have plastic caps on top or have the tip painted with a bright color.
Where are they located?
When survey stakes are originally set, they are placed level to the ground at the corners of the original lot boundaries. After many years, the stakes may become buried due to landscaping and grade changes. Most are buried a few inches deep; some may be as deep as a foot. Renting a metal detector can be helpful in locating the stakes.
What if I cannot find my survey stake?
It may have been removed or relocated by previous owners. The stake may also be buried beneath retaining walls, paved driveways, hedges, etc.
Does finding my survey stake guarantee the location of my property line?
Possibly. Only a licensed land surveyor can determine your actual property line. Sometimes, survey stakes have been moved or removed. It is also possible that the original lot has been subdivided and new survey stakes have been inserted in addition to the older, original stakes.
When would I need a survey?
You may need a survey for new home construction, building additions, garages and other major projects. Home improvement contractors typically expect the homeowner to assume the responsibility for locating the lot lines. You may also need a survey to provide legal evidence if you are involved in a lot line dispute. A survey is the only document that can accurately show your property boundaries.
How do I get my lot surveyed?
In Colorado, Land Surveyors must be licensed by the State and you can go to HERE to dowload a list of Professional Land Surveyors with Active Licenses. Costs can vary and can be more if your land is irregular in shape or has other unusual features. Surveying is a competitive business and you should obtain estimates from several sources. While it may seem expensive to hire a surveyor, it may be cheaper than relocating improvements or legal costs caused by encroaching on someone else's property. That is a decision for you to make.
What can I do to settle a land boundary dispute?
If the property owners cannot resolve a dispute amongst themselves, then you may want to contact an attorney to resolve the matter in court.