How Much Does a Land Survey Cost?
Most homeowners spend between $373 to $499 nationally.
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National Hire a Land Surveyor Costs
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|National Average Cost||$463|
|Average Range||$373 to $499|
How do we get this data? This info is based on 2726 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.
Land surveys are conducted in order to describe, locate, monument, and map the boundaries of properties. They can also be used to map land topography of parcels and mark the specific location of improvements. They reveal a lot about your land, including where exactly it is, and are helpful in a number of different situations.
Average Cost of a Land Survey
Official surveys are not a DIY job. In fact, most places require that surveyors be licensed or certified in the trade, you'll be paying for the survey work of a professional. Statistics show that a land survey costs anywhere between $75 to $950, with the average land surveying prices hovering around $375 to $500.
Property survey costs vary due to a number of factors. Considerations include:
- Type of survey: Some surveys required more detailed work than others, and therefore tend to cost more. The cost of a land survey for a fence, for example, will likely be less than an extensive topographic survey of the same piece of land.
- Amount of research needed: Most surveys will start with the surveyor doing some digging into the history of the land. They'll look at the history of the deed, and may perform a title search to ensure that there are no ownership discrepancies. Some properties are a little harder than others to find records to. This could affect pricing.
- Size and shape of the land: It makes sense— a larger piece of land is likely going to cost more money than a smaller piece, all else equal. Surveys of small pieces of land can take as little as a day to complete; more complicated projects could take several weeks or more. Land survey cost per acre can be anywhere between $20 to $40 for large plots, and more per acre for smaller pieces of land.
- Terrain: Aside from the size of the land, topography and terrain also matter. A surveyor's job can be complicated by thick brush or drastic elevation changes on a piece of land.
What does a survey include?
That price might have you second-guessing, but it is an investment that is well worth it for most homeowners. Surveyors typically do the following:
- Research into the property deed and a professional opinion as to boundary conflicts and locations
- Place physical monuments that mark the corners of your property
- Keep detailed records of measurements taken on your property and the services conducted
- Prepare a map of your plat with accurate boundary markings as well as notation of other features or improvements if requested
- Provide clients with copies of relevant maps and documents and file the maps with the county records
- Serve as a witness if called upon to do so in court
Why should you get a survey?
Not sure if your property has ever been surveyed? Check with your local county records office. land surveys are public records and can be accessed by the public. But if your land has never been looked at, there's a number of situations when it's a good idea to get a survey.
Buying a New Home
Having land properly surveyed before purchasing a home can prevent big problems down the line. It'll reveal possible encroachments on the property that you're looking to buy and show you exactly where property lines are located. It confirms exactly what you are paying for, which protects your investment. Surveys can be paid for by either the buyer or the seller but are typically financed by whoever is requesting it.
Settle Boundary and Fencing Disputes
If you're a current homeowner, a survey can settle boundary disputes between neighbors. Squabbles sometimes arise over things like fence placement. You can freely place a fence on property that is yours without permission from any neighbor. However, if you cross the property line place all or part of the fence on a neighbor's property and they dispute it, you're liable for the costs of removal. A survey isn't required to build a fence, but it can prevent issues down the line.
Having It Handy
It never hurts to have a survey on hand in case you ever need to prove your case to a neighbor or negotiate property taxes with your local government. Should a bigger ownership or property dispute ever arise, a court will most likely recognize a survey that has been conducted and guaranteed by a professional surveyor.
Types of Land Surveys
Boundary Surveys: As the name suggests, these types of surveys establish the boundaries of a property. Even if existing markers or landmarks are present, a boundary surveyor marks the corners and lines of the plot to demarcate clear property boundaries. You can expect a boundary survey cost to be anywhere from $200 to $700 for a typical residential platted lot.
Location Survey: These are boundary surveys with the addition of all interior improvements.
Topographic Survey: Both natural and man-made features are included on a topographic survey. The elevation of these features is shown by contour lines on a plot with this type of survey. These cost of these are usually more than property line survey costs but can be completed together.
ALTA/ACSM Survey: Many lenders and title companies require an ALTA/ACSM survey. These two professional organizations have a particular set of standards and specifications when it comes to surveys. This type of survey is based on a current title commitment and includes information like flood zones, easements, location of buildings, and visible improvements, and more.
Construction Survey: Construction surveys include factors like site grading, building or structure layout, streets and curbs, and utility staking. They are performed on construction sites to ensure that the dimensions and placement of improvements are being built according to plan.
Site Planning Surveys: These are used when designing an improvement to land, whether it be a house, playground, storage building, or anything, really. It combines a boundary and topographic survey and provides a starting point that site builders can base their designs around.
Mortgage Surveys: Title companies and lenders will request these in order to prove that there aren't any structures encroaching on the property and that the structures are up to code and are compliant with zoning laws.
Right-of-Way Survey: These mark easements for infrastructure like pipelines, roads, or transmission lines.
DIY Land Survey
You might be wondering if you can conduct a survey yourself. For a survey to be recognized by entities like lenders, courts, and local government, it will need to be conducted by a certified professional.
However, there may be some instances where you wish to know the boundaries of your property for your own personal use. You can find instructions online on how to conduct a survey with tools you can find around the house, as well as some help identifying property lines from online applications like Google Maps (which has a varying degree of accuracy). With your results, you can determine things like price per square foot for your personal reference for any home projects you may be undertaking.
Finding a Surveyor
Looking to hire a professional surveyor? Find a local professional in your area that can help you establish boundaries and figure out where your land really is.
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Last updated on Oct 24, 2019