“We can’t know how much evidence is available, or the character of the evidence, prior to investigating. Therefore surveyors may give a price range or present caveats, rather than giving a fixed price quote. In the event that we do agree to a fixed price, it is because we are taking a calculated risk based on our knowledge and experience. Land surveying is a complex business that does not often lend itself to simplistic solutions. Always strive to hire knowledgeable, thorough professionals.”
– Ned D. Ferguson, R.L.S.
HOW MUCH DOES A BOUNDARY SURVEY COST?
The infamous question. The notorious answer … It depends.
Multiple factors contribute to the estimation of a Boundary Survey. Hourly rates are listed below, however a professional Survey may cost $3k or $30k, there is no fixed cost. Professional Land Surveyors need the following to provide an accurate estimate:
• Address of property
• Deed of record
Informal research can begin with the address and a quick review of the Deed. This provides better understanding of a project and the associated costs. In resurveying a parcel of land, a Surveyor’s only function is to relocate the pertinent lines based on the best available evidence, which should be the corners and lines at the same locations that they were originally located. Locating and gathering a variety of available evidence may indicate the true locations of boundaries from research to field work. Finally an analysis of evidence is collected and reported to client by advising, by map, or report.
You may be speechless after getting a survey quote, but remember that a Land Surveyor is a licensed professional with standards of ethics and practices, in the same vein as a doctor or a lawyer, governed by a board and invested in the public’s faith. Beware of realtors and assessor’s offices that would tell you a professional land survey will cost $200. Consider the liability the surveyor assumes on a $500,000 residential property – 1% of the land value would be $5k. The County Assessor’s average property tax rate is 1%. Would a realtor work for 1% commission and assume a liability on the property?
HOW LONG DOES A BOUNDARY SURVEY TAKE?
The complete Boundary Survey process can take 6-8 months, including filing the Record of Survey if required. Unknown factors such as workload of the County reviewing the survey map, and the degree of difficulty of the Boundary itself, contribute to the timeline.
WILL ANOTHER LAND SURVEYOR HAVE THE SAME RESULTS?
Knowledgeable and reputable Land Surveyors using the same evidence could potentially yield differing reports. Results may vary in rural areas by feet and by inches in urban areas. Experienced Surveyors with specialized knowledge of an area should have close results regardless of geography.
CAN YOU JUST SURVEY ONE LINE OF MY PROPERTY?
A Surveyor can determine just one Lot Line, however the cost is the same. Essentially, you buy one Lot line and get the rest for free.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOURLY BILL-OUT RATES?
Project Manager: $185.00
Survey Tech: $100.00
CAD Tech: $85.00
2 Person Field Crew: $275.00
Expert Witness: $420.00
WHAT MOST EXCITES YOU ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE LAND SURVEYING PROFESSION?
I hope to see an excited, driven, young and technologically minded group join and improve upon our profession while respecting and integrating its rich history. I feel blessed to have worked with amazing Land Surveyors who’ve guided me in the “old ways”, and I hope as a culture we never lose sight of our past.