While a land survey may not be required if you are a homeowner, you nonetheless may want to get one for your own peace of mind. With a land survey, you can ascertain the boundaries of your property and ensure that any improvements you make are placed correctly. The cost of a survey depends on the nature of the work and the surveyor performing the job.
As of 2015, home improvement resource Home Advisor cites $470 as the national average cost for a land survey, with most homeowners paying between $320 and $620. The home improvement website ImproveNet quotes approximately $360 to $470. On the high end, land surveys can be upwards of $900.
As an hour rate, land survey fees range from $50 to $220 per hour, according to CostHelper.com.
What's Included in a Land Survey
While there are a variety of different land surveys, such as residential lot surveys and topographic surveys, a final land survey should include at least the following elements:
- a map of the surveyed property, signed, sealed and certified by the surveyor
- corners set or discovered, as well as easements and encroachments across boundaries, for a boundary survey
- any improvements to the property, such as pools, patios and other building extensions
Variables in Pricing
When you order a land survey, you are not just paying for the survey, but also for the experience of the surveyor. You might pay $135 per hour for a principal land surveyor, or $95 for a senior technician. Surveyors are required to be licensed by your state and complete educational and experience requirements in surveying.
The online resource LandSurveyors.com addresses some of the factors that can impact the final price of a land survey:
- Complexity: A land parcel may fall under multiple sections, in which case a surveyor may have to survey all sections
- Plat filing fees: Setting corners may require your surveyor to file with the County Assessor, and pay additional for someone to draw the map
- Land vagaries: Mountainous terrain and irregularly-shaped parcels are more difficult and expensive to survey
- Remoteness, land markers and vegetation: If getting to the site is challenging, the survey could cost more; ditto if the surveyor must clear the area of obstructions for a clear line of sight, or there are no existing monuments or other landmarks to guide a surveyor
- Home Advisor: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Land Surveyor?
- Costhelper Home: Property Survey Cost
- Improve Net: How Much Does a Land Survey Cost
- Land Surveyors: Land Survey Pricing
- Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers: Land Surveying Information for Property Owners
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, "What is a Survey"? Accessed Oct 22, 2019
- HomeAdvisor. "How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Land Surveyor?" Accessed Oct. 22, 2019.
- Make this an IC: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Shopping for Your Home Loan, Settlement Cost Booklet" Accessed Oct. 22, 2019.
Timothea Xi has been writing business and finance articles since 2013. She has worked as an alternative investment adviser in Miami, specializing in managed futures. Xi has also worked as a stockbroker in New York City.