From doing home improvement projects, installing appliances, fixing our cars, and even doing our taxes, we tend to have a “do it yourself” mentality. Most of us love to save money on what appears to be a big, inevitable expense, and spend that money on something else. But there are limits. Some tasks simply demand a level of expertise that we don’t have, and many of these needs fall within the “professional” categories such as the practice of law, medicine, architecture, dentistry, etc. Because of the detailed knowledge required by law to perform a land survey, a land surveyor is a professional who must be licensed in your state. They have a multitude of laws, principles and practices that must be followed with great precision, must undergo continuing education in most states, and are subject to severe sanctions or damages for errors. This is done to protect the interests of consumers, and with the high value of land and the high costs of litigation if problems occur, trying to “do your own” survey is a dangerous proposition. And in many cases, it is also illegal.
Even if you find one or more monuments that you believe mark your property corners, you still should not be tempted to set your own property boundaries on that basis. You may have the wrong one, it could have been moved over time or disturbed by past earthwork, etc. So, consider instead trying to fill your own cavity or cutting your own hair to save a few bucks if you are desperate, but please, please don’t even think about trying to be your own surveyor!