How Much Does It Cost to Survey a Land?

Average range: $400 - $1,200
Low
$300
Average Cost
$600
High
$6,000
(land survey done for mortgage purposes on a standard-sized lot)

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How Much Does It Cost to Survey a Land?

Average range: $400 - $1,200
Low
$300
Average Cost
$600
High
$6,000
(land survey done for mortgage purposes on a standard-sized lot)

Get free estimates from surveyors near you
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Reviewed by Sophia Fennessy. Written by Fixr.com.

As a homeowner, you may need to survey your property. Surveys are most commonly used to find your property’s boundary or edges, marking the four corners. They can also be used to locate flood plains, determine terrain, and find locations for septic tanks or oil wells.

Most homeowners conduct surveys before any transaction or project. This may mean having a survey done before selling the property, building a fence, or erecting a new building. Laws govern how close to a boundary line you can build, drill, or excavate, so an accurate survey ensures you are following the correct rules.

Many factors impact your land survey’s cost, including the survey type, property size and shape, terrain, and how difficult the property is to access. With these variations, the national average cost ranges from $400 to $1,200. For most homeowners, a land survey done for mortgage purposes on a standard-sized lot costs $600. You can have a single-boundary survey done on a well-groomed yard, working off existing deeds for around $300. A multi-acre plot with four new boundary markers and a topographical drawing costs about $6,000.

Costs to Survey Land

Land Survey Prices
National average cost$600
Average range$400-$1,200
Minimum cost$300
Maximum cost$6,000


Land Survey Cost by Project Range

Low
$300
Single-boundary survey with existing deeds
Average Cost
$600
Land survey done for mortgage purposes on a standard-sized lot
High
$6,000
Multi-acre plot requiring four new boundary markers and a topographical drawing

Land Surveying Cost Per Acre

Many variations go into calculating the cost of land surveying per acre. A very wooded lot without easily defined sight boundaries can cost more to survey than a clean-cut lot. The plot’s shape can also impact the cost. Square and rectangular plots are easier to survey and cost less per acre than oddly shaped lots.

Many companies lower the per-acre cost the more acres you do. A single-acre boundary survey costs $500 to $1,000 to survey, but when you reach 80 acres, you are likely only paying around $75 an acre and $65 an acre for 100 acres. Topographic land survey costs are often identical because most of the work is similar in scope and time, with only different equipment.

Every company has its own method of calculating price, with most starting with a flat fee that goes up to ½ acre. After that, costs per acre decrease.


Land Surveying Cost

Land Surveying Cost Chart


Land Survey Per AcreAverage Cost
½ acre$400 - $700
1 acre$500 - $1,000
5 acres$1,500 - $2,000
10 acres$2,500 - $3,000
40 acres$6,000 - $8,000
80 acres$6,000 - $8,000
100 acres$6,500 - $9,500


Cost to Survey 1/2 Acre

If you survey a standard-sized lot, meaning ½ acre or smaller in size, most surveyors charge a flat rate going up to ½ acre. This includes boundaries and making a standard drawing, including buildings, driveways, and boundary markers. There can still be varying costs for this survey, with surveys done in winter, on well-groomed land, and have recent documents showing a previous survey costing less than an overgrown lot that has not been surveyed for decades. The range to complete this type of survey on any property up to ½ acre is around $400 to $700.

Cost to Survey 1 Acre

There is also a fairly big cost range to survey 1 acre. At 1 acre, you have more space for the surveyor to visualize. A well-groomed lot with clear boundary markers takes much less time to survey than an overgrown lot with boundary markers that have changed. Many homes with 1-acre lots may not have the entire lot cleared or fenced, so it can be harder for the surveyor. The same variables apply to smaller lots. Surveying in the winter, on a well-groomed lot, or on a lot that has recently been surveyed is generally less expensive. Costs range from $500 to $1,000 for most boundary surveys of this size.

Cost to Survey 5 Acres

Larger properties of 5 acres often have a lower survey cost per acre than a single acre. At this size, finding the borders, documents, and existing paperwork is easy. This is considered when pricing the job. However, the physical work takes time, so you still pay an hourly rate that usually translates into a basic cost of $300 to $400 per acre, or $1,500 to $2,000 for the job.

Cost to Survey 10 Acres

Costs drop again at 10 acres, for the same reasons. Finding the borders and pulling the existing paperwork and deeds takes the same amount of time for 10 acres as for 1 acre. The only item left is the physical work of finding the boundary markers. At this point, the costs approach $250 to $300 per acre. This makes a range of $2,500 to $3,000 for the job.

Cost to Survey 40 Acres

A “Forty” is an assumed 40 acres or 1/16 of a “section.” This is a common size to divide large parcels of land. At 40 acres, surveying becomes more tricky if the forty has not been surveyed before. Most forties are rough estimates, which may be 38 or 42 acres. There is still a per acre discount, but it is not as big of a jump. The average cost to survey 40 acres is $6,000 to $8,000, with costs starting at $150 an acre.

Cost to Survey 80 Acres

At 80 acres, a sizable drop in costs occurs, with prices being about the same as for 40 acres. Parcels this size tend to contain two “forties.” To be sold together, they have likely been surveyed. While it is not inconceivable that your 80 acres are actually 78, it is probably accurate. Costs to survey 80 acres are around $6,000 to $8,000, starting at $75 per acre.

Cost to Survey 100 Acres

At 100 acres, you receive a significant cost reduction in the cost per acre for the job. While the boundaries are larger, all the initial work, such as pulling the existing deeds and old boundaries, takes the same amount of time and cost for smaller properties. So, all that is left is to find the boundary markers and sight the lines. For 100 acres, costs start around $65 an acre. The job has a total cost range of $6,500 to $9,500.


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Land Survey Cost By Type

There are many types of surveys. The most common land surveys are conducted for homeowners who want to know more about their plot. This is often a boundary survey, although if you plan to sell your home, divide your lot in half, or need detailed information about the topography type, you could require a different type. Each type of land survey has different costs, most of which are dictated by the amount of work involved:


Land Survey Cost Chart

Land Survey Cost Chart


Type of Land SurveyAverage Cost
Boundary$100 - $9,500
Site Staking$200 - $2,000
Subdivision$300 - $400/lot
Lot Survey$400 - $1,200
Topographic$400 - $9,500
Mortgage$450 - $600
As-Built$600 - $1,500
Elevation Certificate$750 - $4,900
Hydrographic$800 - $1,000/day
Plat Survey$800 - $1,200
ALTA$1,500 - $4,500


Boundary Survey Cost

The boundary survey is the simplest and most common land survey. A boundary survey marks the four corners of your property and outlines the 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 do not accidentally build the fence on someone else’s property. When having an addition put on your home, you may also need a boundary survey to determine how close you are to the property lines. Costs for a boundary survey begin at $100 for a single boundary and cost up to $9,500, depending on the property’s size. Most pay $450 to $600 on average.

Staked Survey Cost

If you have any construction done, you need a construction or staked survey. In this survey, every corner of the building is staked off, with the land surveyed around it. A home with four corners is fairly easy, but custom properties with 20 or 30 corners with jobs and indents on the building’s exterior can be a very detailed job to mark them correctly. For this reason, staked survey costs can have an enormous range. The more corners you have, the higher the costs. Most cost $200 to $2,000 on average.

Subdivision Survey Cost

If you live in a subdivision, you may need to know about any existing right of ways and shared areas, particularly if the houses are built closely together. In a subdivision survey, the boundaries are marked, and 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 property. This is the kind of information typically unveiled during this survey. Depending on the number of buildings, subdivision surveys cost $300 to $400 per lot. The average subdivision lot is just under ⅕ of an acre but can be much larger, depending on your area.

Lot Survey Cost

A lot survey has different names. It may be a type of mortgage survey that your lender requires before purchase or a type of subdivision survey. Usually, it is a bit of both. This survey is a mortgage survey most commonly done on lots in a subdivision. They include boundary lines, flood plains, septic tank location, well location, and the lot’s utilities. They cost between $400 and $1,200, depending on the lot size.

Topographic Survey Cost

If you have a large property and want to know what can be found on it, you may want a topographic survey. In a topographic survey, the entire plot of land is surveyed and drawn, including hills, water, canyons, and cliffs. A topographic survey results in a detailed map of your property, showing feature locations and the plot’s size and shape. Topographic surveys cost about $400 - $9,500 on average. Costs per acre fall as the property gets larger.

Mortgage Survey Cost

Depending on how long ago the land was surveyed, your bank may request a mortgage survey before granting a loan. A mortgage survey identifies the plot’s shape and size, boundary lines, and general information on wells, flood plains, septic tank location, utilities, and more. This may not be necessary unless major changes have occurred on the property, depending on how long ago the land was last surveyed. Typically, a surveyor reads property records before conducting a new survey to find this out. Mortgage surveys cost around $450-$600 on average, including elevations.

As-Built Survey Cost

If you plan to build a structure on your property, it is advised and sometimes required to have an as-built survey done. In an as-built survey, the land where the structure will go is surveyed. Then, drawings are made of the new structure, which show how close or far the structure is from property lines, utilities, wells, septic tanks, and other features. If the new structure impacts these in a negative way, the as-built survey will show that. These surveys cost $600 to $1,500 on average.

Elevation Survey Cost

An elevation survey is any standard survey that has been submitted for an elevation certificate. This means that specific drawings are done so that an elevation certificate can be issued. If your home is in a flood plain, an elevation survey can determine this and to what extent your property may be affected by a flood. To get flood insurance, you need an elevation certificate. This adds between $350 and $450 to the survey’s cost for a total of $750 to $4,900.

Hydrographic Pricing

Hydrographic surveys are different from land surveys. They are used to survey the bottom of a body of water, such as a lake, river, or pond. If you have water on your property and want to build on it, such as a dock, a hydrographic survey is needed. These surveys are time-consuming and require GPS and other electronics to locate and map the bottom. The costs are usually per day, rather than by size because some rivers or lakes are more time-consuming to map than others. Expect to pay between $800 and $1,000 per day for this survey.

Plat Survey Cost

A plat survey is a drawing made from your lot’s survey. It can be done for what will become a subdivision, drawing up the various lots involved, or it can be done before purchasing a single plot of land. The map you get from this survey marks the boundaries and interior. It can describe access, the land’s shape, and any features it has. Most properties have a plat map, which surveyors can use in the future to check on boundaries and other features. These surveys with the map cost between $800 and $1,200 on average.

ALTA Survey Cost

The ALTA or land title survey is the most comprehensive survey, following the minimum standards set forth by the American Land Title Association (ALTA). This survey shows everything about your land. It makes note of boundaries, topographical information, the location of waterfronts, flood plains, utilities, septic, wells, and any other features.

This survey can be done if there is a dispute on the land’s title, meaning that two or more people may claim to own a section of land if it borders two properties. In this case, the title survey is conducted across the three sections to determine and assess the true owner. Usually, old records and markers make a clear picture. A land title survey cost ranges from $1,500 to $4,500, depending on the property’s size and length of the job. It is not uncommon for a thorough ALTA survey to take months to complete.



Young man architect or engineer working at desk with designer equipment


Cost of Land Survey for a Fence

If you want to put up a fence, it must be on your property. Most fences are installed a foot or two inside the boundary line to ensure there are no neighborly disputes. To be absolutely sure that the fence is on your property and not on your neighbor’s, conduct a boundary survey.

Boundary surveys for fences can be conducted on a single boundary line or around your entire property. A single privacy fence between you and your closest neighbor costs about $100. However, to fence your entire property, the average cost for a boundary survey up to ½ acre is $400 to $700.


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Land Surveyor Fees

While you can find old surveyor maps and use them to locate existing markers or boundary lines, you need a licensed surveyor to produce results that can be used for legal documents or in court. Land surveyors typically charge by the job after getting basic information. Many surveyors charge a flat fee for jobs up to ½ acre. This may be a set fee from $400 to $700, but costs will not be below this fee. Costs can go higher if the surveyor finds something unexpected.

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 look at the property before giving you the cost. You pay the entire cost at the time of the survey. This is beneficial because you know exactly what it costs upfront.
  • Estimated Sum - In an estimated proposal, you get a general idea of what the survey costs. After completion, you get the final bill, which includes the breakdown of services. Typically, you have 10 to 15 days to pay. In the estimate, the surveyor includes what they think is needed, and the time 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 many unknowns.

Typical pricing for a land survey averages around $450 - $600 for a mortgage survey, including elevations of existing buildings. If you need new markers put in, expect to pay around $150 per marker. More complex land surveys start at $900 and rise, depending on the terrain’s difficulty.

Surveyor Cost per Hour

Many surveyors charge an hourly rate. They use this to determine the basic amount they expect the survey to cost. This is why so many surveyors start with a flat rate. They know that surveys do not take less time than this and can feel confident with this pricing.

The average rate is $175 to $250 an hour per surveyor. Two surveyors may work together if you have a larger property, and you pay this rate per person. Having two people often cuts the total time in half, so your total costs for the job should not go up.

How To Find Property Lines

If you need to know your property lines, they are most likely available in two places. The first is on the deed to your home. They should be mentioned in clear terms, including any markers left by the last surveyor. You can also find the property lines on the plat map filed with your local assessor’s office or planning office. Every property must have a plat map showing the plot’s details and property lines.

If you think this information is incorrect or cannot locate either document, hire a surveyor to do it. They may pull the plat maps of all adjoining and nearby properties and visit the site to determine your current property lines.

Cost to Redraw Property Lines

If you do not have a copy of your boundary lines, have a plat survey done. This includes drawing a new plat map, which shows your property lines. Any survey of your property enters public records and is filed with the assessor’s office. If you redraw your property lines, the new plat map is filed with the assessor’s office. This costs between $800 and $1,200 on average to have the lines redrawn.

If you have a dispute over your lines or want to divide your property or acquire additional land from your neighbor, the same thing is done. A new plat map is made of your property’s new boundaries and filed with the assessor’s office.


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

New Technology

The vast majority of surveyors now use electronic measuring tools, including GPS, to locate your boundaries and survey your plot. However, there are times when dense tree cover makes it difficult to use GPS, in which case tape and a compass may be used. GPS typically makes your survey faster and less expensive than other methods.

Boundary Line Adjustment

If you sell a portion of your property or purchase an adjoining parcel, you need to adjust your boundary line. To do this, you need to draw a new plat map. This map is filed in the assessor’s office and shows your lot’s new lines. This costs between $800 and $1,200 and includes a full survey.

Tree Survey Cost

If you have a large plot of land filled with trees, you may wish to have a tree survey done. This is a more detailed survey that determines the different species of trees on your land and provides their locations. Depending on the land’s size and topography, this can be a simple survey costing $200 or extremely difficult and involved, costing $6,000 or more.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Land surveys are legal documents expected to be held up in a court of law. If your surveyor was negligent or did not mark your boundary correctly, they may be held liable in a court of law. Hire a professional to do your surveying because conducting your own survey shifts liability to you. Most land surveyors carry liability insurance for this reason. Always ask if this is the case before hiring someone.
  • If you find that a survey was done fairly recently but is out of date, the original surveyor can recertify the survey rather than having a new one conducted. Recertification costs roughly 25 - 50% of a new survey’s total cost.
  • Most surveyors give final prices based on how long it took to survey. Clear flat lots without any underbrush or tree cover cost less to survey than overgrown or neglected lots. It is also cheaper to survey in winter when there is less tree cover.
  • If the surveyor cannot find documents regarding the property line or if the property is older and has not been surveyed recently, having people who can guide the surveyor toward old markers can speed up the process. This is also the case if the surveyor can get the plat maps for adjoining properties.

FAQs

  • How long does a property survey last?

This depends on the survey and its purpose. If there have been no changes to the plot, then a new survey should only be needed when selling a property or if changes are planned.

  • When should you do a land review?

Any time you sell your property, plan on making changes to it, or if there is a dispute between you and your neighbor.

  • How much does it cost to subdivide a property?

The cost to have a surveyor draw new plat maps for each subdivision is between $300 and $400.

  • Who pays for a land survey, the buyer or seller?

This can vary. In most cases, it is the seller’s responsibility to provide this documentation. But some mortgages may require it of the buyer before the buyer can get a loan.

  • What are the costs to have property lines marked?

This varies depending on your property’s size. Expect a range between $100 for a single boundary line to $9,500 for 100 acres. However, most people pay around $450 to $600.

  • What does a residential land report include?

A residential land report includes everything about the property. This includes boundary lines, waterfronts, septic tanks, wells, utilities, driveways, and buildings.

  • How much does a survey cost when buying a house?

This varies depending on the house’s location and property size. Most people pay between $450 and $600 on average.

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

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Engineers doing a land survey on a standard-sized lot
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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.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources