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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Land Surveyor?

National Average Change Location | View National
$498
Typical Range
$336 - $669
Low End
$200
High End
$1,000

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Land surveys effectively give you 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. Before you schedule your professional assessment, there are factors to consider such as the up-front cost which is usually between $336 and $669, averaging at $498.

Survey Fees & Cost Factors

Hiring a land surveyor costs around $500 according to the national average, but fees can range anywhere from $200-$800, depending on the size of the lot, your geographical location, and the age of the lot. Over time, land does shift slightly and monuments (items such as trees or rocks that were used in initial land survey) may no longer exist. The professional will need to take these things into consideration when working on the home, 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 Size

The larger your estate, the more you can expect to pay to have it surveyed. Cost differs among professionals and regions, and 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 depending on the conditions and the availability of the title information.

Terrain

Similarly, 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. Flat, clear parcels typically cost less than those with lots of underbrush or tree cover.

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 your property has 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 property, the more you will pay.

Who Pays for a Land Survey - Homebuyer or Seller?

When property is bought and sold, the survey is typically bundled into closing costs. The party responsible for paying differs from state to state, and the laws can change. 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
AlabamaCaliforniaAlaska
ArkansasConnecticutIllinois
ColoradoDelawareKansas
FloridaWashington D.C.Missouri
HawaiiGeorgia
IdahoIndiana
IowaKentucky
LouisianaMaine
MichiganMaryland
MinnesotaMassachusetts
MississippiNew Hampshire
MontanaNew Jersey
NevadaNew Mexico
New YorkNorth Carolina
TennesseeNorth Dakota
TexasOhio
VirginiaOklahoma
WashingtonOregon
WisconsinPennsylvania
WyomingRhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Utah
Vermont
West Virginia
Consult with a Local Land Surveyor

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 surveyor. When it comes to house renovations and custom home builds, the primary role of a local land 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 owner knows exactly what he or she owns.

Types of Land Surveys

Not all land surveys are created equal. There are several different types, each with its own use.
  • Boundary: Establishes the legal boundaries.
  • Mortgage: Pinpoints the boundaries of the plot along with locations of any buildings. They're commonly required by lending institutions and title companies as part of the financing process.
  • Topographic: Locates both man-made and natural features such as streams, trees, elevations, fences and buildings. This may be required by governmental agencies, architects or engineers.

What Does a Residential Land Survey Include?

In addition to mapping property lines, it’s a helpful tool for outlining improvements to the property and topographical features. It also includes any easements or service entrances that cross the property, and it marks areas where other properties infringe on the boundary.

When Should You Do a Survey?

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

Building a Structure

If you’re planning to build a structure on your property, consider having an assessment prepared to define the land 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. These restrictions are called setbacks and are determined by local ordinances.
  • Fences - 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 could be required to remove the fence later.
  • 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 – land to work with than you think. Before you build an expansive deck or even a small patio, have your property lines defined so you know exactly what you have to work within.

Buying or Selling Land

Different states have different requirements, but, if you are the buyer, it is to your benefit 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.

Buying a Home

While a boundary survey is not always required, you may need one done 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 property's driveway may encroach on a neighbor's space. A neighbor may have built a deck that extends over the borderline. Issues like these should be addressed before you close a transaction.

New Builds

If you're developing on a previously vacant plot, a survey is essential to make sure the process goes smoothly. It may be necessary to have one done so that your architect can plot rainwater drainage paths, save on foundation costs by finding the most level area on the property, or estimate how much it will cost to build a driveway from the road to the house. Your municipality also may have setback requirements that dictate how far structures must be from the boundary line. For example, your town may require that you build your home 30 feet or more from the property line.
Hire a Professional Land Surveyor

How Long Does a Property Survey Last?

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

Map Your Own Property Lines & Boundaries

If you simply need to determine your price per square foot or if you’re satisfying your personal curiosity, you could survey 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 survey 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 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

  • Surveys conducted by an amateur aren't legal documents, and they cannot be used as part of a property sale.
  • Without professional certification, the survey can be challenged in court.
  • It's difficult to get detailed information like overlaps, easements and right-of-ways that pros can access.

Hiring a Professional

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

  • Check credentials. In most states, surveyors are required to be licensed and insured.
  • 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 land survey 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/hour for additional services like:
  • Boundary line adjustment
  • Provide legal boundary line descriptions
  • Create maps of individual plots
  • Locate and pinpoint utility lines

Preparing

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.
Hire a Professional Land Surveyor
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Elle B More than 1 year ago
Hello. I'm having "issues" with soon-to-be new neighbors who seem to think their property line is much bigger than it actually is. I need to have a survey done in order to resolve this dispute before it gets any worse (water rights are involved). I live in Arizona. Can you please tell me if surveyors must be accredited and licensed through the state or any other agency? This would give me a start in picking a surveyor whose work will be spot on and more than likely introduced as Exhibit "A" in an upcoming lawsuit if this can't be resolved any other way. Please, help me out here. Thanks much and wish me luck with the people that think they "own" the river.
HASupport More than 1 year ago
We've asked a representative to follow-up with your request. -HASupport
don poole More than 1 year ago
Please note that this is based on 2.324 "cost estimates.' As a Professional Land Surveyor I can tell you that this is a ridiculously low figure and that there really isn't any way to "average" a cost so you can budget without contacting a Land Surveyor. It's kind of like figuring a median cost to get a divorce, there are to many variables. The median fee for our services last year was closer to $2,000, but I did a lot of $1,000 projects and a few multi-thousand dollars, including 1 at $65K. How does that figure into a home owner wanting to know the cost of a survey? Have you considered the cost of NOT having a survey?
HASupport More than 1 year ago
Hi Don, We appreciate your feedback. The information listed above are the prices we've received from homeowners who hired a surveyor. -HASupport
don poole More than 1 year ago
The problem is that land surveying covers many facets. Single Family homeowners are a small part of the business. And, each state has developed different regulations governing land surveying. So an "average" nationwide is misleading.
Alexa H. More than 1 year ago
how much for a second time to do the final survey? I was charge 850 for the boundary how much for the elevation or topography it is the same or less?
don poole More than 1 year ago
it could be about the same depending on the level of detail necessary.
Carlos Pinzon More than 1 year ago
Hello Mr Poole, I am working on my AOLS license and I am looking for a job in this field.. Some days ago, I was working on a project collecting GPS data and someone asked me for a boundary survey.. I don't know what would be the price, but I would like to work on it.. I don't have a legal surveying license, so I was wondering whether you may have an opening in your company to do legal surveying and why not to carry out this small survey?
don poole More than 1 year ago
We do "legal" surveying, but only in Massachusetts. What is a AOLS license?
Cindi Anderson More than 1 year ago
Hi Don What determines what makes it more expensive? I can see how a large land parcel could take a lot of time, but would think that a house in a residential neighborhood would be fairly straightforward. I was just given a price of $1900 for a 12,000 sf lot in a neighborhood, which seems high to me. The house was built in 1968. I need the survey in order to do an addition.
don poole More than 1 year ago
Without even knowing what state you're in I really can't comment except to say that every state has different surveying requirements, and all of the states require a license to survey. Some states require that every survey get recorded with the county.
Don McDonald More than 1 year ago
Just noticed the other Surveyor is a Don as well. LOL That seems very high Cindi but it depends on what all is on the lot. Do you have an elaborate sidewalk and patio layout? Are there thick shrubs along the property lines? Those are taken into consideration along with local knowledge of a subdivision having problems with the property corners being off. We have a couple of subdivisions around my area that if we go, I tell them it's a $1000 Min because past surveyors have really messed it up and other property corners were moved my land owners
Paul DASCANI 10 months ago
As a land surveyor in the Pittsburgh area and Sewage Enforcement Officer  for an engineering company I can attest that a round about price for the average property survey on a city block is about $1200. For a rural boundary survey  it depends on how thick the under growth vegetation is, preliminary deed research findings, and  canopy coverage. The ability to use GPS as opposed to traditional survey instruments knocks down costs. As well as deed research already preformed by the land owner. For a rural survey generally 2000.00 is g good starting point in the Appalachian region. The chart shown in this post is not representative of  what most reputable surveyors would charge. Be careful of surveyors with lost costs working out of a garage. That how you end up in court. You get what you pay for. 
sandy yee More than 1 year ago
I have had an survey done, Lot size 55'x120' deep.[downslope] He marked the front and around 3/4 down on the side on 1 side only, but he did not put down any markers in my back yard corners  I paid him $1400.  Oct. 29th 2013.Should he put in the stakes in the back?The City wanted more information [creed in back for my storm drain] In 2016  I had him do it . I again had him check the back. He charged me $450. and still no stakes.Is this right? I think I am being had. Thanks Sandy
DIANA KLOBETANZ More than 1 year ago
i had installed a chainlink fence in 1996 with an agreement with the neighbor accordint to deeds and walking off the deed to know where to locate the fence..he agreed that i my put up the fence s long as it didnt cost him anything and i maintained it which i have done for many years...now it is time to take down the chainlink is getting very old and neighbors child has bent it all up and knocked down supports that i was unawre of due to i had also put up a wooden privacy fence on my side of the chainlink...now i want to take down just the chainlink but the new owners of the property next door are claiming the fence....and the fence belongs to me
JEFF SEGAL More than 1 year ago
I have a .25 acre in wolcott ct.  i received an estimate if 1500.-2000 does this fair?

rich costa More than 1 year ago
I had my lot surveyed years ago, but new neighbors repaved their driveway and I lost a foot of real estate, I still have the survey spike in my driveway. what,s the cost on that?
June Perry More than 1 year ago
My neighbor to the North of is replacing the fence that was put in in 1983 an has torn down the old fence & is now moving the fence over one inch towards my property.  I have a covered  wood shelter near the fence & he has torn this down & tells me I have to replace it myself, or have my relatives that they have to do this.  This covered wood stack was in before the Hillsboro new rules are in affect.  Since He is the one constructing the fence & tearing down my cover of metal, shouldn't he be the one to replace it?
Lisa Turc-Zopfi More than 1 year ago
My last neighbor was the original owner of the property. He told us where the property line was located. 
The new neighbor has had his father-in-law over several times. This gentleman is cutting down trees that we believe are on our property, he does this when they are not home. We need to repair our fence, so I want the survey done first just to make sure we have the facts straight.
SUSAN DANENBERG More than 1 year ago
Hi, I'm just trying to budget what the cost would be to change my Plot/Boundary Line at my Home Residence.
Mary Wilson More than 1 year ago
good
Jason Tiefenbach More than 1 year ago
How does the charging go, do you pay by foot or what? 
Lilian Sanchez More than 1 year ago
Mr. Poole, How much will it cost me to have my property surveyed by your company?  I want to know. 
Tedd Crist More than 1 year ago
Difficulty that might come into play when a survey is being done along a lake water front such as state rights to land due to change in high water mark, ability to do surveys during storm seasons, recourse available when boundaries change because county agree with Fish and Wildlife who says the sate now owns that land because the high water mark has changed...........
Don McDonald More than 1 year ago
I'm a Professional surveyor in Mississippi and The average lot survey will cost you from 400-600. That's for a subdivision lot and what we call a closing survey. When you buy a house and they require a survey it shows the lot with dimensions, the house and any other improvement. If you have say 2-3 acres, expect to pay around $1500 if it's cut and dry. Meaning, we go out and find all the property corners.
Dan Robison More than 1 year ago
I suggest we listen to Mr. Poole. On Saturday, March 8, 2014, Donald T. Poole, PLS was named Surveyor of the Year by the Mass. Assoc. of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers during the 2014 Convention!
linda rodriguez KRC MANAGEMENT More than 1 year ago
did my side gate but had problem and i would like to see if i went to the other owners side he called code code compliance so they said i need to take it down
Dorine Stevens More than 1 year ago
Great info
Larry Lovelace More than 1 year ago
I know I'm not a surveyor but from what I've been involved in the price can get pretty ridiculous for what is involved. I understand things can get hectic but to have to pay the prices some of these guys charge for what was done can be ridiculous!!!!

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