Home » Solo Notes: Montana Surveyor Defines Role in Real Estate
As I see it, we professional land surveyors who focus only on the required accuracy and precision of measurement and boundary law and, in the west, the Public Land Surveying System, miss the boat when it comes to effectively educating the public about the importance of what we do. In sharp contrast, real estate sales licensees who have comparatively low education requirements and test-taking requirements for licensure are continually — and sometimes obnoxiously — hyping themselves to the public for attention getting. Like it or not, we PLS’s are an integral part of the real estate sales industry (a realtor cannot sell a property that has no platted and recorded boundaries these days) and, in my opinion, we PLS’s need to cut a bigger swath out of the whole endeavor for ourselves.
I work in mostly rural and remote places in our fourth largest state — Montana — mainly because I can find properties with certainty, whereas “city realtors” have a tough time finding their way. And many who are concerned more with hype than substance are more worried about getting their car or shoes dirty than about doing a professional, knowledgeable job. I’ve been doing surveying-mapping for over a half-century and began combining it with selling real estate one-quarter of century ago. I find realtors’ “for sale” signs on the wrong properties regularly. Licenses issued by the state are meant to protect the consumer — sellers and buyers alike. Yet, this is not being done by the real estate sales industry in Montana. Some realtors suffer from illusions of grandeur over having their easy-to-acquire licenses and are very hype-ridden and enamored with all kinds of acronym titles after their names; if there was a title of W.O.W. (walks on water) they would all most certainly obtain it! Montana requires a separate license for a property manager than for a real estate sales licensee. Why doesn’t the state require a separate license for rural and remote real estate sales that would require a minimum education in GIS and minimal level of knowledge of how to use a hand-held GPS unit? Why couldn’t we PLS members of the Montana Association of Registered Land Surveyors (MARLS) be the ones to provide such instruction and testing? Why couldn’t this general idea be applied to other states that have large expanses of rural and remote private properties for sale?