Here’s How Much It Will Cost to Survey Your Property

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated July 22, 2022
surveyors with survey ruler and digital level in field
Photo: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • A land survey lets you know exactly where your property lines fall. 

  • Land surveys help property owners solve boundary disputes.

  • The size and topography of your parcel factor into your total price.

  • Most surveyors charge for property records research and travel time.

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Gone are the days when a stone wall or an old oak tree marked the end of your property. The average cost to survey your property is about $500. However, it can range between $200 and $1,000, depending on the size and makeup of your landscape, where you live, and the type of survey you have in mind. A certified land surveyor can define your legal property lines whether you're buying a new home, building a fence, or adding that new guest bedroom. Here’s a guide to the cost of land surveying.

Land Surveying Cost Factors

Not every parcel is priced the same. Surveyors base their fees on various factors covering everything from land characteristics to the availability of records.  

Size

The size of your property plays a big role in survey cost. If your home is under an acre, you’ll pay between $0.50 to $0.70 per square foot. But if you own more than one acre, with hills and trees, land surveyors could charge between $50 and $500 per acre. Like most things, buying in bulk can help lower your rate. The larger the property, typically the lower the price per acre. In both cases, the wide price range comes down to the size and terrain of the property. 

Terrain Type

Smooth, pasture-like terrain without trees, hills, or obstructions tends to cost less to survey than wooded, hilly, or complex terrain. Generally, flat land is less expensive to survey than mountainous land.  

Time of Year

Some surveyors may charge more when the weather creates challenging conditions. Foliage can make it difficult to accurately make survey measurements. In addition, snow and ice can also conceal key pieces of evidence needed for a survey, and cause slippery conditions for the surveyor.

Survey Type

The reason you need a land survey can impact its price. Surveyors will charge more when additional land information beyond the standard for establishing property lines needs to be collected.

Availability of Parcel Information

Surveyors rely on public information to complete land surveys. If they are unable to locate deed records easily, they may need to charge extra for the investigative work needed to track down documents. Most surveyors charge extra for any investigative work they can’t do online. However, customers do have the option of driving to the appropriate county offices to obtain records to avoid the extra charges.

Time

Surveyors will charge more for rush jobs with tight deadlines. Last-minute requests are not the norm in this industry. Each surveying job requires a fair amount of preparation, planning, and scheduling to deliver accurate results.

Research

A land survey requiring a deep dive into historical, topographical, or resource-based research can cost closer to $1,000. The charge is typically lower when records can be accessed online without leaving the office. In some cases, surveyors need to visit records offices in person to access land deeds. Searching through county-specific filing systems requires time and effort that surveyors are likely to bill you for. In fact, some surveying companies employ research assistants to handle this role.

Travel Time

Surveyors often charge for any travel time that gets clocked because they are paying their employees starting from the second they deploy to a site. Costs incurred usually cover traveling to your property, traveling to obtain records for your property, or traveling to meet with other land specialists for additional support regarding a complicated property. In some cases, mileage rates may only kick in if a surveyor's office is located a certain distance from the property you're surveying.  

Special Services

Surveyors may charge extra for any special maps or documentation you request. If you need your surveyor to present their findings to a zoning commission, local board, seller, buyer, or legal team on your behalf, they may charge you an hourly consulting rate for their expertise.

Costs for Different Types of Surveys

a metering device surveying land in a large field with a house in the distance
Photo: Grispb / Adobe Stock

Boundary Survey 

When buying a home or breaking ground on new construction, a boundary survey is your most basic service and ranges from $100 to $600. Use this survey to confirm your home's value or ensure you're not building a fence across your neighbor's garden.

Topographic Survey 

Do you live on a patch of countryside peppered with trickling streams, rolling hills, and old oak trees? You may need a topographic survey for between $500 and $1,200 if you want to start building any structures.

Mortgage Survey 

Like a boundary survey, the mortgage appraisal ensures you know exactly what you're paying for. Most pros charge an average of $500 for this essential service.

Fence Land Survey

Let's say you're dreaming of a fenced-in backyard where you can let the dog run without worry. You'll need a land survey that costs between $250 and $1,000 to make sure you're staying on your side of the property line.

As-Built Survey

If you're embarking on a large home or landscape construction project, an as-built survey represents how your property looked at one point in time. This 3D drawing is much more advanced than a basic plan and will cost between $800 and $1,200.

FAQs 

Here are some of the most common questions about hiring a land surveyor.

How do I hire a land surveyor?

You can search for local land surveyors online and then call and ask for estimates. You can also check their reviews online or ask for references. Before hiring one, ask them to provide their license and insurance information before working on your property.

What should I consider when planning land survey costs?

Before reaching out for estimates from your shortlist of surveyors, examine your land. The cost will come down to:

  • The number of feet or acres in your property

  • Complicated terrains (slopes, hills, rocks, and water)

  • The type and extent of the survey you need

  • How much time your surveyor will spend on travel and research

What other projects can I do at the same time?

Land surveys are often the piece of a larger home-design puzzle. Making sure your plan falls legally within your land is always the best starting point. For example, a home buyer is often responsible for completing a professional land survey to ensure the deed matches the property. 

A land survey is also a great jumping-off point to start designing that new fence or stone wall you've been dreaming about. A surveyor will also be key in approving new home additions, such as a larger kitchen or a new guest space.

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