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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Land Surveyor?

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National Average Change Location | View National $505
Typical Range $339 - $670
Low End $200
High End $1,000

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How Much Does a Land Survey Cost?

Homeowners report that the average land survey cost is $504. This includes the price to hire a land surveyor, which ranges from $338 and $670. The total depends on the property's history, size, location and more.

These surveys effectively give you a legal description of the exact boundaries of where your property lines begin and end. They can save a lot of hassle and money in case of disputes because they are legally binding and professionally certified.

Land Surveyor Costs

Hiring a land surveyor costs around $500 according to the national average, but fees can range anywhere from $200-$800, depending on the lot size, your geographical location, and the age of the lot.

Over time, the ground does shift slightly and monuments (items such as trees or rocks that were in initial documentation) may no longer exist. The professional will need to take these things into consideration when land surveying and may even have to re-establish boundary lines. Like all home projects, there are a variety of factors that can affect the final price.

Land Survey Cost Per Acre

Land surveys cost between $50 and $500 per acre, depending directly on the lot size, how wooded it is and how many property corners you need marked. The larger your estate and the more markings you need, the more you can expect to pay. However, with an increase in acreage, the rate per acre decreases. Rates also differ among professionals and regions, so there’s no hard-set, per-acre rate. However, for large parcels - those 5 acres or larger - most pros charge per sq. foot, which could run anywhere from 50 to 70 cents or more, or per hour, depending on the conditions and the availability of the title information.

Average Survey Cost by Acreage

Acreage

Average Reported Cost

1/5 (average U.S. lawn size)

$400 - $700

Up to 2

$500 - $1,000

Up to 10

$500 - $1,500

Up to 20

$1,000 - $2,000

Up to 40

$2,000 - $5,000

Up to 80

$2,000 - $6,000

100 to 200

$3,000 - $10,000

200 to 350

$5,000 - $20,000

Fees by Terrain

Flat, clear parcels are typically less expensive than those with lots of underbrush or tree cover. The more difficult the terrain, the more expensive an assessment will be. Just like how the pitch of a roof can affect fees, so does the lay of your land.

Research & Travel Time

Part of the professional assessor’s job is to research the property's deeds and other official records to compare with physical markers like fences and walls. If it has already been well documented, it will save time on the process, which ultimately saves money. Likewise, the farther the professional needs to travel to get to the location, the more you will pay.

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Property Survey Cost

Property surveys cost an average of $500 and range from $200 to $800. However, not all of them are created equal. There are several different types, each with its own use.

Boundary Survey Cost

The price of a boundary survey is $100 to $600 on average. It is the most basic type that people get when they’re buying a home or pursuing a project. The professional establishes the legal boundaries and provides a legal description of them.

Different states have different requirements, but, if you are the buyer, it is to your benefit to get such a real estate survey in order to know exactly how much real estate you are paying for. Land surveyors often find defects that could lead to renegotiating the price of the real estate you are purchasing. Likewise, if you’re selling, it could give you valuable information to help appropriately price your home and property.

Topographic Survey Costs

A topographic review ranges from $500 to $1,200 for a lot size less than 10,000 square foot. It locates both man-made and natural features such as streams, trees, elevations, fences and buildings. Governmental agencies, architects or engineers may require it before lot development. Rates will be higher for plots with significant topographical elements, like rivers and hills.

Mortgage Survey Cost for Buying a House

A mortgage survey is typically around $500. It pinpoints the boundaries of the plot along with locations of any buildings. Lending institutions and title companies often require it as part of the financing process.

While a boundary assessment is not always a requirement, you may need one if you plan to buy extended title insurance. Like a home appraisal, it can provide valuable information regarding pricing. Additionally, it’s helpful for buyers to be aware of details regarding local regulation. For example, it may not be legal to build a fence dividing your yard from a neighbor’s along the adjoining boundary line. Or, the driveway may encroach on a neighbor's space. A neighbor may have built a deck that extends over the borderline. You should address issues like these before you close a transaction.

Average Cost to Have Land Surveyed for a New Construction

Services for new construction can range from $1,000 to $2,000. There are several tiers involved in the process, and it will typically include boundary, topography, staking and location services at the least.

Cost of Land Survey for Fence

Getting a land study for fencing costs $250 to $1,000, depending on the lot size. Even if there’s already a fence in place, that’s no guarantee that you’re building on your property line. If you build over the line, you may have to remove the fence later.

ALTA Home Survey

The typical rate for an ALTA survey ranges from $2,000 to $3,000. It is an assessment according to the standards of the American Land Title Association and is one of the most extensive options.

People typically get these services to qualify with a lender when they are purchasing a commercial property, though those purchasing residential properties may also get this thorough option to be sure that their property is accurately defined.

Lenders often require these surveys because they catch potential risks or issues that might otherwise change the details of the purchase agreement.

As-Built Survey Cost

As-built surveys cost an average of $800 to $1,200, and price will depend greatly on square footage. For this service, the professional measures the exterior and interior of the home or structure to create a three-dimensional representation of it. The process involves using lasers to capture dimensions. This method is much more accurate than blueprints and plans.

Staked Site

The price range for a site staking report is $200 to $500. Professionals usually perform this service ahead of new construction. The professionals mark for structures that you’re building or installing such as buildings and roads. They will also designate slopes and prep locations for utilities and lighting.

Plot Plan or Plat Survey Estimate

Plot plans cost $75 to $200 and plat surveys purchased from the county cost $10 to $30. The two are very different from one another.

  • Plot: This is a designated parcel of land which is a property of its own, such as that for a home.
  • Plot Plan: This design lays out structures and buildings which exist on or will exist on the plot. It is not meant to be as accurate as a land survey.
  • Plat Survey: This is a legal document that shows the area around the plot as well as the plot itself. It clarifies where streets, other plots and easements are and how your plot fits into the bigger picture.

Property Surveying for Additions

As a property owner, if you’re planning to build a structure, consider having an assessment prepared to define the plot before outlining any possible improvements (garage, pool, patios, house, drive, etc.) to ensure they don’t encroach upon a neighbor's property. Even if you get along with your neighbors, anecdotal evidence of boundary lines can be murky at best. At worst, you might find yourself in court with a neighbor over something that you’ve placed on territory that may or may not be yours.

It’s also important to know that local laws can dictate how close you can build to boundary lines regardless of whether you have neighbors. Local ordinances determine these restrictions, or “setbacks.”

  • Garages & Driveways- Making improvements or extensions that are outside of your building limits can cause future problems. For example, if part of your property contains an easement - a portion of land where service companies have access rights - you shouldn’t build anything to interfere with that space. If you do, the service company could demand you remove it.
  • Patios & Decks - You may have more or less area to work with than you think. Before you build an expansive deck or even a small patio, have your boundary lines defined so you know exactly what you must work within.
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FAQs

What is a Land Survey?

A land survey, in the simplest terms, defines the boundaries of your plot. It is an assessment performed by a professional. When it comes to house renovations and custom home builds, the primary role of a local assessor is to find these lines. Homeowners should hire someone specialized in determining boundaries especially when looking to build a house or expand an existing one. The boundary pre-defined in legal documentation helps locate the edge of the property on-site and mark it, so the property owner knows exactly what he or she owns.

How Can I Get a Free or Cheap Land Survey?

A free or cheap land reports may not give you the most reliable information. To get one for free, you can do it yourself, but the results won’t be official or recognized. With a cheap option, the individual you hire may:

  • Get off-schedule and delay project or buying process.
  • Miss important and expensive problems or errors.
  • Make detrimental mistakes in their report.
  • Have poor customer service skills and bad reputation.
  • Lack proper licensing or insurance that would make them liable for the results.
  • Lack experience needed to work with other parties involved, like contractors and lenders.

When Should You Do a Land Review?

If you’re thinking about buying, building, or adding onto your property, it’s a good idea to have an assessment done to define the dimensions of your lot. Otherwise, you have no recourse should questions arise about property corners and boundaries during or after the building or buying process.

Who Pays for a Property Line Survey - Homebuyer or Seller?

During the buying and selling process, closing costs typically include land surveying. The party responsible for paying differs from state to state, and the laws can change. However, in most cases, the buyer pays for the service or the responsibility is negotiable.

While the below table offers a reasonable idea of what to expect, call your local title insurance company to verify who is responsible in your state.

NegotiableBuyer PaysSeller Pays
AlabamaArizonaAlaska
ArkansasCaliforniaIllinois
ColoradoConnecticutKansas
FloridaDelawareMissouri
HawaiiWashington D.C.Nebraska
IdahoGeorgia
IowaIndiana
LouisianaKentucky
MichiganMaine
MinnesotaMaryland
MississippiMassachusetts
MontanaNew Hampshire
NevadaNew Jersey

New York

New Mexico

Tennessee

North Carolina

Texas

North Dakota

Virginia

Ohio

Washington

Oklahoma

Wisconsin

Oregon

Wyoming

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Utah

Vermont

West Virginia

How Long Does a Property Survey Last?

How long a land survey lasts is a question of how long the professional's liability lasts. That is how long the professional will defend the document if it's challenged. The length of time varies among states, but typically lasts 5 to 10 years from the time of completion.

Residential services usually take less than a day to complete, but it will take one to two weeks for the professional to finish the documentation. Some companies offer rush services of two to five days.

What Does a Residential Land Report Include?

  • Mapped property lines
  • Outlined improvements to the plot and topographical features
  • Mapped easements or service entrances that cross the plot
  • Marked areas where other properties infringe on the boundary

How Do I Read My Property Survey?

To read the official document, it’s best to lay out the illustrated map on a flat surface and reference your written documentation as-needed. Important elements to note are:

  • Address: The address on your paperwork should match that on your deed.
  • Legend: Symbols on the legend indicate such elements as boundaries, utilities, easements and roadways.
  • Scale: The scale will indicate how measurements on your map correspond to actual measurements.
  • Sealed certificate: The professional will have signed and sealed an official certificate on the map.
  • Written survey: This will contain all information pertaining to the official findings, a legal description and disparities/changes between the previous documentation and the current results.

Finding Property Lines & Boundaries?

If you simply need to determine your price per square foot or if you’re satisfying your personal curiosity, you could assess your own plot. You'll need legal documents describing your land, which can be difficult to locate if your property is older or if there hasn't been a review completed recently. Before getting started, gather the supplies you’ll need, which include:

  • Steel or metallic woven tape
  • Range poles
  • Plumb bobs
  • Chaining pins
  • A GPS receiver (optional)

Based on the legal document you've gathered, find one of your plot’s boundaries. Then, measure the distance along the lines indicated on the real estate deed. Mark the line every 15 to 20 feet with metallic tape, keeping it level as you go. When you find the property corner, or the end of your boundary, turn and continue along the next side until you complete the entire parcel of land before measuring the square footage. Although this is a doable project, it isn’t without its challenges.

Dangers of DIY Surveys

  • Assessments conducted by an amateur aren't legal documents, and you cannot use them as part of a property sale.
  • Without professional certification, a court can challenge the results .
  • It's difficult to get detailed information like overlaps, easements and rights-of-way that pros can access.
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Hiring a Land Surveyor

One of the most important steps to finding a land surveyor in your area is speaking with a few local professionals and getting estimates from at least two. Like any home improvement project, getting multiple estimates is the best way to find competitive prices.

Tips to Hire a Professional

  • Check credentials. Most states require these professionals to have licensing and insurance.
  • Make sure they work on your terrain. The more complex your project, the more experienced the assessor should be.
  • Read surveyor reviews and ask for references: The cheapest pro isn't always the right one. If you want the results to hold up in court or in case of a real estate transaction, the reputation of the professional is paramount.

Additional Services Provided

Professionals do more than locate property lines. But if you request additional services from your pro, expect to pay additional fees. The average hourly fee for professional assessors runs from $20 to $25 per hour for additional services like:

  • Boundary line adjustment
  • Provide legal boundary line descriptions
  • Create maps of individual plots
  • Locate and pinpoint utility lines

Preparing for Licensed Surveyor

In addition to doing your homework on the assessor, there are a couple of things you can do to make the process simpler, which could reduce the amount you. For example, you could provide the pro with a past record of your plot and your deed, if possible. Additionally, clear the area around your property lines to give the professional easy access.

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How do we get this data?

  1. Homeowners visit HomeAdvisor.com to find a top-rated pro to complete their home improvement project or repair.

  2. Once their projects are completed, the members log in to their accounts and complete a short cost survey.

  3. After compiling and organizing the data, we report it back to you.