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Land Survey Cost

Land Survey Cost

National average
$575
(land survey done for mortgage purposes on a standard-sized lot with two new boundary markers)
Low: $954

(elevations done off of an existing land survey)

High: $1,200

(large plot requiring four new boundary markers and a topographical drawing)

Cost to survey a land varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from surveyors in your city.

In this guide

Types
Labor
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to survey a land?

At some point during your time as a homeowner you may need to have a survey conducted of your property. Surveys are most commonly used to find the boundary or edges of your property, marking the four corners. They can also be used for several other purposes including locating flood plains, determining terrain, and even finding locations for septic tanks or oil wells.

Most homeowners have surveys conducted before any type of transaction or project. This may mean having a survey done prior to purchasing the property, prior to building a fence around it, or prior to having a new building erected. Because there are laws governing how close to a boundary line you can build, drill, or excavate, having an accurate survey can save you from having to deal with your town or city after the project is complete. In other cases, you may need to submit a recent survey plat along with your plans for the project in order to get a permit.

On average, carrying out a land survey done for mortgage purposes on a standard-sized lot with two new boundary markers costs $575. However, there are a lot of different factors that can impact the cost of your land survey, including the type of survey that you are having done. The size and shape of your property, how difficult the property is to access, the terrain, and how long ago the last survey was conducted will all impact the final cost.

Types

There are nearly as many types of surveys as there are types of property in the world. The most common land surveys, however, are those conducted for homeowners who want to know more about their particular plot:

Boundary survey

The boundary survey is the simplest and most common type of land survey. A boundary survey marks the four corners of your property and shows the exact property lines. For example, if you want to put up a fence, you need a boundary survey to show where your property ends and your neighbor’s begins so that you don’t build the fence on your neighbor’s property instead of your own. If you are having an addition put on your home, you may also need a boundary survey to determine how close you are getting to the property lines. Costs for a boundary survey begin at $95 for elevations, and cost about $275 on average for a full survey.

Topographic survey

If you have a large property and want to know what can be found on it, you may want a topographic survey conducted. In a topographic survey, the entire plot of land is surveyed and drawn including things like hills, water, canyons, and cliffs. A topographic survey will result in a detailed map of your property showing the location of any features as well as the size and shape of the plot. Topographic surveys cost about $600 on average.

Subdivision survey

If you live in a subdivision you may need to know more about any existing right of ways and shared areas, particularly if the houses are built closely together or if there are town houses which share a wall. In a subdivision survey, not only are the boundaries clearly marked, but existing information may be uncovered. For example, if your property blocks your neighbor’s driveway from the road, they may have a right of access through your driveway to reach their own property. This is the kind of information typically unveiled during this survey. Subdivision surveys range in cost depending on the number of buildings, with costs typically averaging $300 to $400.

Mortgage survey

Depending on how long ago the land was surveyed your bank may request a mortgage survey prior to granting you the loan to purchase. A mortgage survey will give you the shape and size of the plot, mark the boundary lines, and give you general information about the property, including but not limited to well information, flood plains, septic tank location, and utilities. Depending on how long ago the land was previously surveyed, however, this may not be necessary unless major changes have occurred on the property. Typically, a surveyor will take a look at old property records before conducting a new survey to find this out. Mortgage surveys cost around $500 on average including elevations.

Land title

Occasionally, the title of the land in question may be in dispute, meaning that two or more people may claim to own a section of land if it borders two properties. In this case, a land title survey will be conducted to determine the true owner. Old records and markers may be accessed as well as a new topographical or boundary survey to find the necessary information. Land title surveys range in cost depending on the extent of the survey. For a simple survey, costs start around $95, but can go as high as $600 depending on the amount of work needed.

Labor

While you are more than welcome to look up old surveyor maps and use them to find existing markers or boundary lines on your own property, you need a licensed surveyor to produce results that can be used for legal documents or in court in the event of a dispute. Land surveyors typically charge by the job after getting some basic information about the property.

Your surveyor may price the job in one of two ways:

  • Lump Sum - In a lump sum survey, you provide the basic details to the surveyor and they take a quick look at the property before giving you the cost. You pay the entire cost at the time of the survey. This is beneficial to you because you know exactly what it will cost up front.
  • Estimated Sum - In an estimated proposal, you are given a general idea of what the survey will cost. After completion, you get the final bill which includes the breakdown of services and are generally given 10 to 15 days to pay. In the estimate, the surveyor will include what they think will be needed and the general time they think it will take to complete. Because this is an estimate, the job could cost more or less in the end. This is beneficial if you have a very large property with a lot of unknowns.

Typical pricing for a land survey starts at around $95 for elevations and $275 for a simple boundary survey, and averages around $500 for a more detailed mortgage survey which includes elevations of existing buildings. If you need new markers put in, you can expect to pay around $150 per marker. More complex land surveys start at $600, and go up depending on how difficult the terrain is to access.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • The vast majority of surveyors now use electronic measuring tools, including GPS to locate your boundaries and to survey your plot. However, there are times when dense tree cover may make it more difficult for GPS to be used, in which case things like tape and a compass may need to be used. Using GPS will typically make your survey faster and less expensive than if your surveyor needs to use other methods.

Additional considerations and costs

Liability

Land surveys are legal documents expected to be held up in a court of law. If it is found that your surveyor was negligent or did not mark your boundary correctly, they may be held liable in a court of law. This is why it’s important to hire a professional to do your surveying; conducting your own survey means that you will be responsible for damages if your fence is placed on your neighbor’s property or in the event of another dispute. The vast majority of land surveyors do carry liability insurance for this reason; always ask if this is the case before hiring someone.

Recertification

If you find that a survey was done fairly recently, but is out of date, you may be able to have the original surveyor recertify the survey, rather than having a new one conducted. Recertification costs roughly 25 - 50% of the total cost of a new survey.

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Cost to survey a land varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Clarksburg, MD
0%
Effingham, NH
+1%
Englewood, CO
+15%
Jersey City, NJ
+23%
Rio Rancho, NM
-15%
Sag Harbor, NY
+11%
Shelby, MI
-42%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
St Thomas, VI
0%
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources