Thursday, May 22, 2014

Getting Involved

I was told early on in my career that the Land Surveyor was generally speaking held in high regard within the community.  This was probably true in a time when most of the country was illiterate.  I have noticed that the average land surveyor want to live in amenity.  They don't want to be noticed unless somebody is giving them money.  Unfortunately this is a terrible business model. 

I was in a fraternity while at NMSU.  The fraternity was not you typical "Animal House" environment.  We had to maintain a minimum GPA, and had to participate in philanthropy.  This experience was excellent although at the time I didn't know why.

When I moved back to Springerville, I began working to build a business.  In this area word of mouth is THE primary source of advertisement.  I also began to see a need for involvement.  Primarily my involvement was in interests that my daughters were/are tied to.  Little League Sports; dance; cheer; School etc.  As I began to get involved I realized that people were starting to notice I had moved home and the phone started to ring.  Then the Community leadership started seeking me out for advise on land issues.  Long story short; being involved in your community is the best way to advertise and get recognized as a professional and businessman.  Sitting in the office and wondering why the phone isn't ringing is not going to do it.  Placing adds in the newspaper or phone book with everyone else won't separate you from the pack.  Community involvement does.  Getting out there and using the deductive reasoning skilled gained from our experiences and applying them in the community outside of surveying gets you noticed.  Being a grouchy hermit does not.

My 2 cents anyway.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Land Surveyor

As a matter of practice I have prepared legal descriptions for clients so they could use that legal to execute a deed of some sort.  Normally they would go to the title company and they would prepare a courtesy deed for a fee.  They would not guarantee title unless a policy was sold.  Then up here at least they stopped doing courtesy deeds.

So the natural progression was for our clients to begin to ask me.  At first I thought it was way out of my expertise to do so.  However I am beginning to see that I might be mistaken. Before anyone freaks out try to follow me.

This is how I operate; During the course of a survey; I do as much deed and survey research I can find.  I do the field work.  I draft the plat.  I record the plat.  If my client asks for a deed to be prepared why can't/shouldn't I do it?  I have done the research, I have prepared the documents the deed relies on, what's the issue?  Liability?  Where is it?

 The fact of the matter is that in the past it WAS the land surveyor that prepared deeds for people.  Land Surveyors are the only people uniquely qualified to do so.  If our profession is to gain prominence we have to get beyond measurements.  The key to our profession is the land.  Planning, Tenure, Stewardship, and Ownership.  Land Surveyors have all of the tools to be a one stop shop to address all of the a fore mentioned.  Yet most amongst us are scared to take this on. 

I live in a small town of around 4000 covering 12 square miles.  Most everyone in town will call my father or myself with questions about land.  Where is the flood plain? How many acres? Can you pull the tax records? Can I get a copy of my deed? can I get a survey? Can you go over my title policy with me?  My point is they all come to us.  Most of the time this type of stuff is at no charge.  But we do a lot of trading up here so a favor can go a long way.  The big picture here is that when it comes to land issues in our area they all look to their local land surveyor.  this is where our profession prospers. Only those who fixate on measurements and gizmos get wrapped up in the way technology is dissolving our chores.

So in closing I don't and will not advocate practicing law.  However preparing deeds is a task uniquely tied to land surveying and as a matter of practice most attorney's lack the expertise to understand deed preparation.  Therefore I don't think it is beyond our purview to do so.