Table of Contents for this Page
- Land Survey Cost
- Cost Range for Land Surveying
- Average Total Costs
- Overview of Land and Property Surveys
- Property Survey Cost Factors
- Survey Cost Details
- Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
- Related Projects
- DIY or Hire a Pro for this Project?
- Comparison Costs from Leading Resources
- Common Questions and Answers about Property Surveying
Average Cost for a Land Survey
The cost to have land surveyed is $655 when dividing land, determining boundaries or preparing to develop or build a home or building on the property. The type of survey affects cost too, so the common range for land survey cost is $395 to $915. The various survey types and their costs are included in this page of cost estimates, or Costimates.
A land surveyor will mark the corners of the property’s boundaries with iron pins and usually stake them to make them easy to find. The surveyor will also create a drawing of the property that includes the legal description, property address if it has one, directional arrow and other pertinent information needed on the type of survey being produced.
A professionally certified survey is used to determine property lines, specify exact parcel size, ensure buildings meet local setbacks and other legal issues related to the sale, division or development of the land.
Average Cost Ranges
Overview of Land Surveying
A land survey may be required when land is sold, divided or developed, or when boundary disputes arise. Surveys can be prepared for sellers, buyers and property owners for these purposes. Because they are professionally prepared and certified, land surveys are legally binding documents and most often required before you can build a new home.
There are several types of land surveys prepared for their various uses, each with a different cost range. The types are explained below along with specific pricing for each and factors affecting cost.
In general, the survey is used to confirm property boundaries or produce new boundaries and a legal property description when the land is subdivided for sale or development. Realtors, excavators, builders, inground pool installers, landscapers, fence installers and other contractors rely on the survey for their work. And of course, the local taxing authority will use the survey to determine property taxes.
Land Survey Cost Factors
The cost of a land survey for most residential properties is $395 to $915. When a parcel of 5+ acres is being surveyed to divide into lots or a subdivision, the survey is often priced on a “per lot” basis with a total cost exceeding the range above.
Here are the factors that determine where on the price spectrum your land survey will fall.
- Survey Type – There are 8 common kinds of surveys from simple boundary surveys to highly detailed American Land Title Association (ALTA) surveys. Common survey types and costs are explained and priced below.
- Parcel Size – Larger properties take longer to survey, so cost rises. We’ve also included a price list by acreage below.
- Property Shape – A rectangular property is easier to survey and pin/mark than one that is L-shaped or has a non-straight line. Properties with steep slope, heavy woods or bodies of water might also take longer to survey resulting in a higher cost.
- Research – Before the survey is completed, the contractor making the survey will research the property’s survey history, known boundaries and other documents to guide them. A well-documented history saves time and money.
- Resolving Discrepancies – When a new survey contradicts an existing survey and property boundary adjustments must be made, time and cost go up.
- Travel – With higher fuel costs, surveyors are making travel time and expense a larger factor in their estimates.
- Required Documentation – The purpose of the survey will determine what documentation must accompany it. For example, a title company preparing for closing or a municipality considering a land division request might want more information than a landowner wanting verification of property lines for building setbacks.
- Local Costs – Cost of living varies by as much as 35% across the country. If you live in a large metro area on one of the coasts, costs are highest. They are lowest in small towns and rural areas of the Midwest and South, and costs are closer to average everywhere else.
Land Survey Types and Costs
Here are the survey types, what they are and their price ranges. They are listed from most common to least common.
- Boundary Survey Cost: $225 – $750 | AKA a stake survey, this most basic survey type creates the legal property lines and legal description of the property. A boundary survey is created for every parcel of land when it is separated from a larger parcel. When property lines are disputed or are unclear, a new boundary survey is often produced. This survey type can also be used to when ensuring fences are installed on the owner’s property, new building locations meet required setbacks or a right-of-way or utility easement is part of the property.
- Mortgage Survey Cost: $300 – $615 | This survey can make use of a legal boundary survey. It adds the location and basic footprint of buildings, driveways, pools, sheds and other permanent features. The mortgage survey will include the legal description, property address, legal owner(s), square footage and other locally required information. Home sellers, buyers and the mortgage company should be provided with the mortgage survey.
- Topographic Survey Cost: $575 – $900 | This survey type includes most of the above. A topographic survey or topo survey also includes elevations and contours of the land which are used when considering runoff, low areas and similar features to be considered for issues of general land use, home or driveway locations and other things affected by the topography of the land.
- Survey for Fence Installation: $275 to $450 | Again, an existing boundary survey can be used for this purpose, which is to establish that a proposed fence will be installed on the owner’s land and not encroach on neighboring parcels. Even if an old fence is removed, it shouldn’t be assumed that it was properly located. According to one seasoned pro, “Even the most experienced contractors know that a survey for fence installation is essential for a successful project.”
- New Construction Survey Cost: $850 – $1,600| This survey type incorporates features of boundary, topographical and sometimes mortgage survey information. It is more detailed, so takes more time to complete and comes with a higher cost.
- As-Built Survey Cost: $590 – $1,250 | This survey is used to establish the exact dimensions and square footage of a home using lasers for precision. Lenders considering loans and contractor planning remodeling work use the survey.
- ALTA Survey Cost: $1,800 – $3,200 | The American Land Title Association survey requirements are extensive. An ALTA survey is typically used for commercial properties, but you might want one when considering the purchase of a residential property to ensure that all legal and physical details of the property are established.
- Subdivision or Plot Plan Survey Cost: $425 – $700 per lot | This survey type is required when subdividing a large piece of land into individual lots or parcels. It is occasionally used when multiple parcels are purchased together, and the owner prefers that they be registered legally as a single property.
Boundary Survey by Lot Size
As lot sizes increase, so do the costs. But on a cost-per-square-foot basis, price goes down as the property size increases.
- Up to 1/4 acre (Urban/suburban lots) | $395 – $800
- Up to 2 acres | $550 – $915
- 2.1 to 5 acres | $600 – $1,250
- 5.1 to 10 acres | $750 – $1,400
- 10.1 to 20 acres | $900 – $1,950
- 20.1 to 40 acres | $1,100 – $4,400
- 40+ acres | $1,350 – $7,500+
Permits, Inspection, and Labor Costs
Permits and Inspection
- $0 | No permit is required for a land survey. The completed survey might be used to obtain permits for building and other property development.
While most survey projects are priced by the type of survey and the property size, professional surveyors use a scale of $75 to $125 producing job estimates.
Time to Survey Land and Prepare the Document
There are two aspects time to consider. The physical survey of the land might take from 2 to 10 hours depending on the property size.
However, preparing the completed survey can take 3 to 30 days or more depending on survey type, additional research needed, what documentation must be provided with it and how backed up the surveying contractor is at the time. Surveyor Andrew Scholle recently said, “If the surveyor is able to start right away, yours and your neighbors’ deeds match up and your land isn’t incredibly large, the process could take a week or less. But issues with the deeds and larger properties can cause the process to extend to as many as three weeks.”
Listed below are projects closely related to property surveys or new home construction.
Are You an Engineer or Land Surveying Professional?
If so, head over to our Costimates Pro’s page, and help us make this page better and more accurate for both our visitors and your future customers.
DIY or Hire a Pro
This isn’t a DIY project. A legally binding survey must be prepared by a licensed land surveyor or engineer.
You can certainly search for the pins defining your property boundaries, if they exist. But that’s about all anyone without a surveyor’s license can do.
Compare Costs from Leading Resources
- HomeAdvisor: $375 - $745, All Survey Types
- HomeGuide: $380 - $540, Most Common Types
- Fortune Builders: $815 - $1,215, Land & Construction Surveys
- Rocket Mortgage: $400 - $1,200, Land/Mortgage Survey
- Bob Vila: $346 - $680, Basic Land Survey
- Fixr: $400 - $1,000, Average Cost
Common Questions and Answers
When should a survey be done?
The most common times are when vacant land is being divided or sold. It also makes sense to have a new survey done when the last one is more than 20 years old and you're preparing to build on or develop the land.
What information does a surveyor need?
The legal description and property address, if applicable, property deed or title and the known location of property corners if available.
How much will a survey cost?
Most cost between $395 and $915 with an average for a property or mortgage survey of about $655.
How long is a land survey good for?
Land surveys are valid indefinitely as long as there are no disputes about property boundaries and the land isn't divided.