What is the Cost of a Land Survey

What is the Cost of a Land Survey

Land surveys are a necessary process to determine property lines and the location of features on a property. These surveys tell us where one piece of land ends, and another begins. They show the exact boundary of a property line and the location and dimensions of any site improvements or buildings on the property. There are different methods of surveying land based on the size and shape of a property.

If you do not need a survey and your building department will accept a non-certified site plan check out My Site Plan!

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What Does a Land Surveyor Do?

A land surveyor’s job is extremely technical and requires them to have extensive training and certifications. Each state has its licensing requirements and a set amount of experience needed to perform a survey. Surveyors use specialized tools to measure a plot. They collect data for every point of the land and check angles and distances. They then use a form of marker, like stakes, to mark the boundaries of a plot. Surveyors also perform a lot of research about land records.

Types of Land Surveys

Many different types of land surveys are performed based on the reason that you need a survey. Whether you are trying to locate your property lines or trying to split different land parcels, professional surveyors can meet your needs.

  • ALTA Survey

An American Land Title Association survey is typically performed when you are buying an investment property or a home. Also known as a mortgage survey, they are often required by a title company and lenders before being approved for financing.

Average cost: $2,000-$3,000

  • Boundary Survey

Boundary surveys determine the exact boundaries and corners of a property. They are generally used for personal records, local easements, or to settle a legal dispute.

Average cost: $100-$600

  • Location Survey

Location surveys are similar to the boundary survey, but they also include site improvements. They show the size and location of improvements and measurements of the distance between them and the property lines. They are often performed when obtaining zoning permits.

Average cost: $600-$1,000

  • Subdivision Survey

Subdivision surveys come in handy when dividing parcels of land into multiple lots. They are used to create subdivision plats and have to get filed in the land records.

Average cost: $500 per lot

  • Site-Planning Survey

Site-planning surveys are used to plan site improvement development. These are also necessary when applying for building permits, and the proposed improvement is drawn inside the survey boundary.

Average cost: $1,000

  • Construction Survey

A construction survey shows workers the distances between planned improvements and where to build. Construction surveyors will mark out the location where structures will be built.

Average cost: $1,000-2,000

  • Topographic Survey

Topographical surveys show the location of human-made and natural features on a lot. They are used to plan site improvements and include locations of things like fences, trees, utilities, and elevations.

Average cost: $800-$900

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How Much Does a Land Survey Cost?

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How much land surveys cost depends largely on the type of survey, size and shape of the property, and how much travel is involved for the surveyor. The nationwide average cost of a survey is right around $500, but this can be much higher depending on what city and state the property is located in, along with the size of the lot and type of survey that you need to be performed.

What Affects the Pricing?

  • Acreage

The acreage of a property is one of the most significant factors in pricing a land survey. When having a lot surveyed over a couple of acres, the price can easily reach into the thousands.

  • Terrain

Clear and flat areas are typically much less expensive to survey than land with lots of hills and vegetation. The more complicated the terrain is, the more a surveyor will charge.

  • Type of Survey

Different types of land surveys have vastly different costs. ALTA and new construction surveys are generally the most expensive, while property, boundary, and mortgage surveys are usually the least costly.

  • Travel and Research

A professional surveyor will research a property’s deeds and official records to compare them with the lot's walls and fences. The farther that a surveyor has to travel to reach the location, the more you will have to pay for their time.

Do I Need a Land Survey?

Most people use a land survey when buying or selling land, or to prepare for a building project. It is crucial even for projects as small as building a new fence; you wouldn’t want to accidentally build on a neighbor’s land and have to redo your whole project from scratch. It is equally vital when closing on a real estate deal; a mortgage survey verifies what is actually on a property. By having a professional examine and document your property, you can prevent future problems from arising about your boundaries.

How to Find a Land Surveyor

Like in almost any business dealing, it is good to talk to several local professionals to get multiple estimates. Make sure to check a potential surveyor’s credentials; they need to be licensed and insured. You should also check their reviews and ask for references. Like any home improvement project, you shouldn’t choose a professional based solely on their prices. You always want a reputable surveyor performing the work if the property lines are ever disputed in a courtroom. A survey from a reliable professional is typically valid for five to ten years.

Land surveys will document the exact boundary of your property lines and what lies on your land. These boundaries are essential to show a bank what they are lending on, show construction crews where to build, and so you know where you can make improvements on your lot. Keep your land survey up to date with new features and enhancements so that it always maintains accuracy.

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When Do You Need a Land Survey?

Some people don't know if a land survey is necessary for their project. However, if you don't get a land survey when you need one, it can lead to mistakes regarding property borders that have expensive consequences. 

You need a land survey when buying or selling a house and if you plan to make additions to either the home or the yard. 

Buying or Selling a House

When buying and selling property, it's important to have all property lines clearly established. This ensures that new owners have clear documentation of the land they own and its exact beginning and end locations


Additions usually expand the house physically, and you can’t build an expansion that protrudes over into the neighbor's yard. You also need to pay attention to the property lines when you make landscaping renovations.  

Installing a Fence

Fences go up around a property to enhance the appearance and increase security/privacy. Naturally, you want the fence to go up at your exact property lines to avoid any problems with the neighbors. 

Dividing Land

In the case where you need to divide the land, you also want to know the exact boundaries so you know exactly how much land goes to each person. This can eventually help calculate each person’s share in the case of a sale after a death or funeral.  

Commercial Purposes

When you buy a commercial property, knowing your boundary lines can ensure that you don’t run into a problem with the neighbors around you, especially as your business expands. 

My Site Plan can handle all of your commercial or residential vacant property land survey needs. 

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What Does a Land Survey Include?

You may want to know exactly what you get when you request a land survey.

Sure, you understand that they clarify the borders, but what exactly do you get from them and what else can you expect? 

Here is everything included in a land survey. 


Your professional survey will provide you with a certified written report that clearly details your boundary lines, and you’ll also get a separate sealed certification you can use whenever you need to show proof of your boundary lines for the next 5 - 10 years, depending on the law in your specific state. 

Always ensure that the address on the report matches the address on your deed. One seemingly miniscule difference in the paperwork can have devastating effects. 

Documents without a proof of certification from an authorized organization cannot be used for legal purposes and can slow down construction projects. 

Advanced Details

You may have specific details that require documentation, but many amateur land surveys will not have all of the details available, making those reports invalid. 

Some of the advanced details that a professional land survey will have in it include:

  • Easements - the legal ability of someone to use someone else's land for a specific purpose
  • Rights-of-Way - the right of way when two pieces of land come together
  • Overlaps - space where two people share the property due to an overlap in property lines
  • Service entrances - places where service vehicles will enter the property 

Request a quote for a custom land survey from My Site Plan today!


Question Answer
What is the difference between ALTA and boundary surveys? ALTA surveys are primarily used in real estate transactions to satisfy lender requirements, while boundary surveys simply delineate the exact borders of a property.
How long does a typical land survey take to complete? The duration of a land survey depends on the type and complexity of the survey, but typically ranges from a few hours to several days.
Are there any legal requirements for conducting a land survey? Yes, most jurisdictions require land surveyors to be licensed and follow specific standards, which may include filing the survey results with local land authorities.
Can a land survey affect property taxes? Yes, since a land survey can clarify or change recognized property boundaries, it may impact property tax assessments.
What should I do if my land survey reveals a dispute with a neighbor's boundary? It's advisable to discuss the findings with the neighbor and seek mediation or legal advice if the dispute persists.

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  • Annie Rosellini