Questions about the cost of land survey work and the completion date are two of the most frequent queries fielded by survey companies when a prospective or current client begins a residential or commercial real estate project or seeks to buy, sell or subdivide land.

Like doctors, lawyers and other service professionals, surveying companies are rarely able to predict the exact survey cost and time frame for completion without gathering more information and determining the entire scope of work to be performed. Because each parcel of land can be unique in terms of terrain, features, usage and location, the actual property survey cost and date of completion can vary widely.

What Components Are Included in the Land Survey Cost

Land surveyor cost factors for most surveys include allowances for the time and labor required to:

  • search legal deeds and court records to determine necessary information such as the legal description and ownership of the land to be surveyed, as well as that of any adjoining parcels of land
  • compute property boundaries
  • find existing corner markers, or place new ones where none are able to be located
  • mark boundary lines
  • prepare the survey map and new legal description
  • record the survey with the county of record (this is done on an optional basis at additional cost)

Additional Issues That Affect Cost and Completion Time

In addition to the factors listed above, the cost of a property survey and the time needed to complete it are affected by conditions and issues that can not be predicted. These include:

  • any disputes between the client and neighboring landowners regarding the parcel boundary lines or ownership of all or part of the property
  • incorrect or poorly written legal descriptions and land records that must be verified and corrected
  • property corner markers that are missing or those that have been moved or disturbed
  • rough terrain or weather issues, such as snow cover or flooding in the area to be surveyed
  • heavy growth of brush or areas with brier or thorn bushes that impede the progress of the survey team
  • remote or difficult to access properties that may require excessive travel time or additional expense related to the travel time

Landowners and developers can help their surveyor keep costs down by making efforts to improve access to the property and any existing property boundary lines. If the area where the survey crew will be working is overgrown, consider clearing or mowing an access trail through the property in the areas where they will work or carefully removing weeds near known property markers.

Technology Helps With Property Surveyor Cost Factors

Another way to help control the costs of a property survey is to opt to use technology, when possible. Global positioning system technology, usually referred to as GPS, increases survey accuracy, while reducing the amount of time and labor required. In addition, using GPS measurements for land features expedites the survey mapping process and utilizes geographic information system (GIS) technology to easily store, display, share and manipulate the data.

Unlike traditional survey tools, GPS land surveying equipment requires easily portable tools that can be transported in a backpack or strapped onto an all-terrain vehicle when working on larger parcels or rougher terrain. GPS surveying can also be used with computer systems to digitally transmit data, reference existing surveys and verify location and land records.

If you are interested in having a property survey completed, but have concerns about the cost or time frame for the work, contact Grant & Associates to discuss the details of your project. Using the information your provide and their knowledge of the area, they will be able to provide an estimate of the cost and time involved, as well as explain how the work will done.