If you own a home, sooner or later, a conversation regarding your property boundaries in relation to your neighbors will come up. Whether it’s a fence, tree, swing set or anything else surrounding your property, a professional land survey will always clear things up.
While many lenders do not require a survey, it’s still in your best interest to obtain one before buying or building a new property. However, we know $438 does not come lightly to anyone, as that is the average land survey cost. Despite the added expense, there are plenty of reasons to get a land survey.
Why Get A Land Survey
1. Learn the Size of Your Land
A land survey will tell you the true and legal boundaries of your property. This information is vital when you live close to neighbors, perhaps in the suburbs, or if you are planning a home addition.
Additionally, this largely comes in handy when you are determining the price per square foot of your new or potential home. Many homeowners do not have land surveys and are going off the County Assessors Office. Their information is not always correct and can greatly influence your total purchase price. That is why it’s vital to get a land survey before purchasing a home.
2. Settle Neighbor Disputes
The most obvious reason to hire a land surveyor is to settle future or potential neighbor disputes down the line. If you or your neighbor wants to install a fence, a land survey is almost always needed. You or your neighbor must know where the fence can and can not be installed. Even if you do not live near another home, many municipalities will have guidelines as far as how close you can build a fence to the property lines. The survey will tell you where those property lines are.
Likewise, besides a fence, land surveys are useful for any structure or encroachments across property lines. Once again, home additions or trees come to mind.
3. Determine Construction Location
Many municipalities require homes to be built a certain distance behind the property. This prevents homes from being built right up on the sidewalk. Without a land survey, you will not know where those property lines begin and end. Needless to say, it’s very expensive to move existing structures, such as septic systems, after they have been installed. You might as well get it right the first time.
4. Tax Benefit
Property taxes can rise, but they can also go down. Whenever the County Assessors evaluates increases or decreases in property taxes, they must confirm the property size with a certified land survey. Additionally, if you are protesting your taxes, a land survey will make their job much easier, which in turn, improves your chances of lowering your next property tax bill.
Sadly, many homeowners end up in court when it comes to land encroachments. Fortunately, hiring a land surveyor is guaranteeing an “expert voice” on your side. According to our land surveying cost guide, your hired surveyor will defend his report in court if challenged. If there are losses charged to you caused by an erroneous land survey, the surveyor is responsible, not you.
Land Survey Cost
As I already noted above, the average land survey cost is $438. However, we have seen prices rise to $900. The prices can range due to the size and layout of the land.
To no surprise, the larger the land, the more expensive the land survey will be. Additionally, difficult terrain, land with hills or trees covering the land/boundaries will all increase the total cost of the survey. Finally, expect the surveyor to add a travel cost as well. That is why it’s important to find a licensed and insured surveyor close to home.
Reduce the Cost of Your Land Survey
As always, there are certain precautions one can take before hiring a land surveyor to reduce the overall price. First, find your deed and make sure it’s present for the surveyor. If you can’t find it, they will have to do the research. Remember, they charge by the hour, so more research equals more cash. Additionally, an old survey, maybe from the past homeowner, would also be useful.
On a more basic level, make sure there is nothing hindering the property lines. There should be easy passage throughout.
Before any home project, do your research and seek out three or four quotes before hiring a land surveyor. While a cheaper pro may look good at first, oftentimes, those homeowners who hire the cheapest quotes pay much more down the line.
Land surveys are not only vital before you buy a house, but can greatly benefit you throughout the lifespan of your new home. For more pre-purchase prices, please see the rest of our home building cost estimators.