As it is often said, "If you think a land survey is expensive, try getting a cheap one!" In other words, there are no $200 boundary surveys. You should not hire a land surveyor just because they are cheaper than the rest. If you do, you are opening yourself up for a world of financial pain in the future.
Land Survey Pricing
Receiving an estimate of costs for a survey from a Registered/Professional Land Surveyor takes very little effort and is easier than you may think. A surveyor first needs a copy of your Warranty Deed in which a description of your land helps determine an accurate estimate. The cost of a Land Survey is directly related to the total time and effort involved for the survey. When receiving an estimate for a survey keep in mind that all Land Surveyors assume the worst possible scenario in calculating an estimate for you. Competitive rates for the majority of Land Surveyors in your area should also be expected. The best solution is to select a Land Surveyor based on his or her experience and reputation rather than the price estimate that he or she gives you for the survey.
Factors Effecting Pricing of a Land Survey
An estimate can vary depending on a mass of factors such as level of accessibility, location, terrain, time of year, etc. These factors will influence a Land Surveyor being able to establish an exact estimate for the survey in advance. Below is a list of various factors that may affect the cost of a survey.
Accessibility: The location of a parcel from the land surveyor’s office plays part in the amount of time that it takes to perform the survey work. This includes the distance to the site and any difficultly in reaching the public land corners.
Existing Evidence on Property: Existing evidence such as stone, wood or iron monuments, fences and occupational lines, witness trees, etc. are beneficial to the surveyor. Absence of this evidence may make it difficult for the surveyor to replicate the initial survey.
Record of Survey Plat: If any corners are set which establish property lines, it is required by law that a plat of your survey be filed with the Country Surveyor in the county where your property is located. When a record of survey plat is necessary, the cost of the survey will be increased to account for the time it takes a draftsman to draw up the map after the field work is completed. A plat filing fee is also required by the county.
Research/Records Search: Land surveys often require a records search on the parcel of land. This step can sometimes become complicated by the way previous land transactions were handled. This will often result in incomplete, vague and in some cases inconsistent land records and legal descriptions.
Sectionalized Survey Work: Depending on where your parcel is located (ex. remote area), the surveyor may have to break down an entire one mile square section of where your parcel lies. In some cases where the parcel falls into multiple sections a survey of those sections will also be required.
Shape and Size of Property: Rectangular parcels of land generally are cheaper to survey and contain less corner monuments compared to irregular shaped parcels containing the same amount of land.
Terrain: Mountainous terrain is generally more difficult to survey than a level parcel of land.
Time of Year: In the winter, travel time may be effected because of road conditions, this may effect travel time to the site. Winter weather may also hide field evidence. Summer time foliage can also present challenges to the site.
Vegetation: Brush, tree branches and in a few cases small trees are required to be removed. The removal of such vegetation allows the surveyor a clear line of sight when performing a survey. Residential landscaping and trees on home sites are normally undisturbed but may require additional time to survey around them.