The national average cost to get your land surveyed is $375, but prices range between $312 and $750.
Property survey cost:
National average cost
Typical cost range
However, be aware that the actual cost of a land survey will depend on several variables. The best way to get an estimate is to contact land surveyors in your area and ask for cost estimates.
What’s in this cost guide?
Surveying the property lines of a piece of land is a tricky job. The following are factors your surveyor will use to estimate the cost of your job.
Property or lot size
The larger the piece of land, the more time it takes to survey it and the more expensive it will be. If you need a boundary survey for a large property of 5 or more acres, your land surveying company may quote the job by linear foot. For example, The Land Consultants, LLC in Jasper, Tennessee, charges $0.50 to $0.70 per foot for surveying large boundary areas.
A larger plot of land will likely have a lower cost per acre (or per foot). This could result in a dramatic difference in cost per acre. The price per foot can vary greatly depending on the terrain, vegetation density, quality of available title information and more. Your surveyor will talk pricing with you before beginning the job so you can know what to expect.
Here’s another critical factor: Properties with more complex boundary lines will likely cost more to survey. The land surveyor will have to spend more time and use various techniques to accurately map boundary lines on an irregularly shaped piece of real estate.
For example, surveying a 5-acre lot shaped like a perfect rectangle involves locating the corners and simply mapping a straight line between them to form each boundary. However, if a 5-acre plot has more than four sides, a complex right-of-way or other abnormality, the amount of time needed to complete a boundary survey can increase significantly.
Availability of deed records
Surveyors don’t just rely on physical measurements — they also spend time consulting existing deeds, surveys and other historical documents to ensure they have all the information.
A deed is the most important legal document a surveyor can have at their disposal. It outlines a property's boundaries, serving as a step-by-step guide for locating corners and boundary lines. Without it, a surveyor has to spend additional time finding the boundaries.
If a survey is inadequate, a title report or deed is missing or records aren't readily available, the surveyor's cost will likely rise because the surveyor will need to spend more time researching and verifying the information.
Mortgage and lender requirements
If a project is subject to a tight timeline from a mortgage lender, a surveyor may need to complete it much quicker than usual and work extra hours. If this is the case, you will probably pay a premium for the rush.
Terrain and vegetation
Flatland with few obstructions is, generally, cheaper to survey than land with complexities. For example:
- Forests and woods can make it harder to map a straight line and measure true distances.
- Steep inclines create numerous complications.
- Creek boundaries may change over time.
Another complexity to consider overgrowth on the property. Are the property lines or markers covered by vines, saplings or other vegetation? If so, the surveyor will likely have to spend extra time accessing the markers.
Urban vs. rural
Urban and rural rates may differ. Rates for a location survey or plot plan may be higher per acre, depending on where you live. For example, land plots in rural areas tend to be larger and may cost more. They might also cost more because of the time it takes to find records for these areas.
Travel time for the surveyor
If the land surveyor has to travel far from their office to complete the job, your costs may increase.
Type of survey
Many land surveyors can complete various types of surveys — and they may charge different prices for each one. See the following section for a detailed breakdown of these survey types.
Depending on your needs, you might need a boundary survey, ALTA survey and easement survey or another survey type. Figure out which one you need before you hire a land surveyor.
A boundary survey (or property line survey) shows landowners exactly where the real property lines lay. The surveyor may use a previous survey, maps, deeds, monuments, witness testimony and other elements to complete this type of job to mark property corners.
Also known as a title survey, an American Land Title Association survey is conducted for title insurance and often includes details needed for a specific transaction. This survey is usually required when buying or selling property, when buying vacant land to build on or when seeking as much detailed information on a piece of the land as possible.
An ALTA/ACSM survey includes all boundaries, improvements, structures, easements and more. The survey adheres to strict standards and will provide you with the strongest legal backing. The surveyor will identify and mark features like fences, utility lines, historical structures, roads and more.
This is a survey completed to outline easements for water lines, roads, utilities, septic, rights-of-way and other types of improvements. Typically, this type of survey is done on a small part of land for a specific purpose.
Sometimes a property owner needs to know a property’s features and elevation to manage drainage, setback from a waterfront, new construction placement and more. A topographical survey includes contoured lines indicating natural features like bodies of water, fences, roads, streets, driveways, trees and more.
You might need a topographic survey if you plan on adding on to your home, landscaping, installing a pool, adding a pond to your yard and more.
Subdividing a property
A subdivision survey divides an existing piece of real estate into smaller parcels. This requires knowing exactly where the boundaries are, and it sometimes requires the additional help of an engineer when the survey is complicated.
There are several situations in which hiring a land surveyor is an excellent investment.
You need a FEMA Elevation Certificate
Your property may be in an area deemed vulnerable to flooding. If this is the case, your lender may require you to obtain flood insurance. A licensed surveyor can draw up a site plan that marks your property’s elevation in relation to the nearest floodplain.
Protect your new home or land
Because a new home or land purchase is likely the largest investment you’ll make, it’s worth protecting it. A surveyor can ensure your property’s boundaries align with what is being sold. In the case of the land being smaller than advertised, you could gain bargaining power. In other instances, you will know with certainty which man-made or natural features are on your property.
Parceling an existing lot
If you want to split and divide your property, you’ll need a surveyor. This is important for legal purposes and to ensure buyers know what they’re looking at, as well as for establishing where utilities lie and where structures can be located.
When installing a border fence or landscaping
If you plan on planting trees, bushes or other landscaping along your border — or if you want to install fencing or a wall — you may need a surveyor to ensure the project is done correctly. If the new additions encroach on a neighbor’s property, you may have to pay to have them removed.
When building an addition
The best way to find and hire a land surveyor is to research and compare professionals in your local area. Read customer reviews and ratings, and ask important questions when contacting surveyors. For example, you can ask:
- Do you provide free estimates?
- How soon can you begin?
- What did similar surveys in my area cost?
- How long will it take to survey my property?
Make sure the surveyor you hire has the required credentials and license in your area.
Contact several land surveyors and have as much information as possible on hand, including any existing surveys and deeds. They can often give you a quicker and more accurate quote if you can access the deed and title.
Select the best surveyor among a shortlist of top surveyors you’ve identified.
Surveying your property is an essential part of homeownership. Whether you’re buying, parceling, building on or improving your land, hire a professional land surveyor near you.
Can you survey your own land?
You can survey your own land, but should only do so if you are certain of your abilities and documentation is clear enough to make the right calculations. You should hire a land surveyor if time is of the essence, if you lack the proper instrumentation or if you don’t have the necessary skills.
Who typically pays for a land survey?
The person who wants the survey typically pays for it. In the case of a real estate transaction, this is often the land buyer, according to Zillow.