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Property Survey Cost


How Much Does a Property Survey Cost?

 
low costSubdivision's Individual Parcel Survey: $300-$500average costResidential Lot Survey: $300-$1,000high costUp to 20 Acres: $750-$1,750+
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A property or land survey determines the boundary lines and accurate measurements of a specific parcel, lot or acreage. The process typically involves researching official records and doing field work on the property. A land survey may be required or desired when buying or selling property, building a fence or a house addition, subdividing a property, splitting a lot, or obtaining or refinancing a mortgage. Many local building or fence permits require a boundary survey, and many lending institutions require a current detailed land survey to reveal any problems with boundary lines, easements and encroachments.

Typical costs:

  • Many surveyors charge $50-$220 or more an hour, depending on the type of work performed and the qualifications of the person doing the work. For example, Homestead Land Surveying[1] in California charges $55 an hour for the services of a junior survey technician, $95 an hour for a senior technician, $135 an hour for the principal land surveyor, $150 an hour for a two-person field crew and $220 an hour for a three-person field crew. GJB Engineering[2] in Virginia charges $50 an hour for administrative work, $85 an hour for a surveying draftsman, $100 an hour for a technician, $150 an hour for a professional surveyor and $140 an hour for a two-person surveying crew.
  • Total costs depend on the type and complexity of survey. A developer building new houses might have surveys done of the entire development then sell a copy of a specific parcel survey to the buyer of that lot for $300-$500. A typical residential lot survey might cost $300-$1,000 depending on local rates and the size and type of parcel; placing permanent stone or metal boundary markers may be optional at $100-$300 each. For example, Texas Land Title Surveyors[3] estimates a residential land title survey including staking property corners at $350, and a topographic survey for beach front construction at $450. Ramsey Surveying[4] in Arkansas estimates a typical lot survey for less than a half acre at $500 in subdivisions newer than 1970 and $750 for subdivisions older than 1950, with boundary surveys on up to 10 acres starting at $750-$850, and 10-20 acre parcels at $1,750 or more.
  • The cost of a land survey is based on several factors, including the parcel size and accessibility (distance to site and difficulty surveying all lines and corners); availability of information and records; existing evidence on the property (markers from previous surveys); time of year and weather conditions; complexity (a property described as part of a one-mile section may legally require surveying the entire section); improvements like houses, garages, fences or pavement; and more. LandSurveyor.us lists factors affecting the cost of a land survey.
Related articles: Building a Custom Home, Home Addition, Family Room Addition, Fence

What should be included:
  • Provide as much information as possible, including legal documents or plans for the property, any available details on boundary line and corner locations, and any disputes about these lines or corners. Typically, the final product will be a signed, sealed and certified map of the property surveyed, showing what was surveyed and, depending on the type of survey, information like which corners were found or marked, improvements on the property and any encroachments across the boundaries. Link Field Services in Texas provides an overview.
  • There are many different land surveys. A subdivision survey is needed when subdividing a property and must follow local government regulations. A boundary survey locates the corners, lines and easements for a given parcel. LandSurveyor.us describes types of land surveys and lists common misconceptions and myths.
  • In addition to traditional transit and tape, modern surveyors also use electronic distance and angle measuring equipment, including GPS for greater accuracy and efficiency on some types of surveys. Often a surveyor spends more time researching records than viewing and measuring the property. Link Field Services in Texas gives step-by-step examples of the tasks and manpower needed for an average boundary survey of 20 rural acres and an average residential subdivision lot survey.
  • A land surveyor must be licensed by the state; most states require a four-year degree in surveying or a related science, plus 4-8 years working under the direct supervision of a licensed surveyor.
Discounts:
  • If a previous survey was done recently and the same surveyor is available, that surveyor might recertify the original survey 25%-50% of the cost of doing a new land survey.
Shopping for a property survey:
  • Prices vary significantly; get several estimates. The state associations[5] of the National Association of Professional Surveyors typically provide referrals.
  • The surveyor should provide a written agreement or contract detailing what will be surveyed, the type of survey, the agreed-upon fee and when the final survey will be delivered.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.homesteadsurveying.com/Graphics/HLSRateCard.pdf
  2.  www.gjbengineering.com/CAE/conditions/Attachment_B_Rate_Schedule.pdf
  3.  www.texaslandtitlesurveyors.com/services.html
  4.  www.ramseysurveying.com/page4.html
  5.  www.nsps.us.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=496&stopRedirect=1
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