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What does a survey cost?  

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The first thing a prospective client wants to know is how much a survey will cost them. Since virtually everyone who contacts me has never hired a surveyor before, they know very little about the process, and therefore, they typically underestimate the work involved and the value of that work.

The short answer? Anywhere from $500 to $5000.

The long answer will help explain the reasons for such a wide range. The cost of a survey varies greatly, depending upon such important factors as:

  • Location of the property: rural vs. urban
  • Type of deed (legal description): “Lot & Block” or “Metes & Bounds” or “Sectionalized” with the differences between them being substantial
  • Mountainous and brushy, or flat land and clear
  • Is it only for fence-building purposes, or are you dividing your parcel?
  • The number of modern surveys that have been done on nearby properties
  • Whether or not your deed is compatible with adjoining deeds
  • Whether or not any “material discrepancies” are discovered (as defined by state law)
  • Whether or not there are existing corner markers on any of your parcel lines
  • The potential for litigation
  • The number and complexity of any easements affecting your parcel
  • The complexity of either your legal description, or those surrounding your parcel
  • Whether or not a Corner Record or Record of Survey is triggered by state law

Every parcel is unique and the fee to have it surveyed will depend upon the mix and complexity of all the of above factors. The only way to narrow down the range and provide a definite estimate is to conduct research at the County Surveyor’s Office and at a local title company. It is almost impossible to give anyone an accurate estimate without doing some research first. In many cases this can be done without a retainer, but in some cases I will need to charge at least a few of hours of research time in order to gain an adequate knowledge of the difficulty involved in any particular survey.

To do the research I would need, at minimum, the name of the legal owner and the address of the property. It would also be helpful if you had the Assessor’s Parcel Number and a copy of your deed (or title report). It will take a couple of days to prepare an estimate and get back to you.