How Much Does a Land Survey Cost?

Average National Cost
? All cost data throughout this article are collected using the RS Means construction materials database.
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$380 - $750

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Updated On

April 16, 2024

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Land surveys are always a welcome sight when it comes to the home improvement industry. This service aids in planning projects from building fences to constructing home additions. It’s invaluable when buying and selling homes, refinancing mortgage loans, or even settling property line disputes. 

In my experience, homeowners often hesitate to get this essential service due to worries about land survey costs, but it’s typically more affordable than you may think. Plus, it’s a service that pays for itself in preventing costly mistakes, although the peace of mind alone makes it a worthwhile investment. In this article, I’ll explore the cost of land surveys and explain why you may need one. 

Get Land Survey Estimates
Connect with local experts to kick off your next project.
ALTA Survey
You’ll need an ALTA survey to build a commercial lot. These surveys generally cost $1,200 to $3,000.
Boundary Survey
A boundary survey to determine your precise property lines may cost you $150 to $700.
Mortgage Survey
You may need a mortgage survey to access a home loan. These typically cost between $350 and $650.

What Is a Land Survey and When Do You Need One?

A land survey is a professional measurement of a property’s boundaries and features completed by a land surveyor. While measuring the site, the surveyor places physical markers to visibly identify the property corners and lines. Then, they create a property map and accompanying report. These act as legal documents and may go into the public record. 

It may be beneficial to get a land survey when in the following situations:

  • Buying and selling property: A survey is the only way to confirm that the legal description of a property matches its actual boundaries. It’s also helpful in identifying easements, encroachments, and access rights that could impact either party’s ability to get a fair deal. 
  • Getting or refinancing a mortgage: Many lenders require their clients to get a land survey when getting or refinancing a mortgage. This document helps secure the mortgage and reduces the risk for the lender by providing official data used to calculate the property’s exact location, size, and value. 
  • Planning a custom home build: Knowing the exact measurements of a parcel of land helps builders place the new home in the right location and avoid boundary issues, setbacks, and code violations. Your custom building process will run much smoother with this document leading the way. 
  • Building additions and ADUs: Just as they are with custom home builds, land surveys are essential when building additions and accessory dwelling units (ADU). The property survey data helps plan the construction so that the finished product complies with all local laws. 
  • Dividing land for a subdivision: If you want to divvy up a large property into smaller lots, getting a land survey is an essential part of that process. The survey allows for the accurate creation of each lot’s boundaries while complying with all zoning regulations and other legal requirements. 
  • Installing a perimeter fence: You need to know where your property lines are to build a perimeter fence that doesn’t encroach on your neighbor’s property. It’s also important so you don’t accidentally give up your property rights by building the fence too far inside the boundaries. 
  • Settling property line disputes: A land survey is the final word on property lines when neighborly disputes occur. Once you know exactly where your land begins and ends, you can settle disputes and go back to enjoying a peaceful neighborhood. 
Today’s Homeowner Tips
Is your neighbor building a shed on what you think might be your property? If so, you need to get a land survey. Although it’s nice to keep the peace with neighbors, now is the time to act fast. If you don’t challenge the build, your neighbor could take ownership of that property section within about seven years by claiming adverse possession.

How Much Do Land Surveys Cost?

Most homeowners can expect to spend between $380 and $750 on a land survey. The national average is $565, although the price can be as low as $250 or as high as $1,250. However, prices may vary considerably, depending on factors like the lot size and shape and how much extra work the job may require. 

land survey trainee by sturti
Getty Images Signature; Free for Canva Pro

What Factors Affect the Cost of a Land Survey?

Understanding what factors can affect land survey costs helps with budgeting for surveying services. The information also comes in handy while reviewing each bid while picking your preferred land surveyor. 

Overall, the factors that may have the biggest impact on the total price for this service include: 

  • Survey type
  • Property size
  • Lot shape
  • Site location
  • Landscape features
  • Research time 

Survey Type

There are many types of land surveys available. The reason why you’re getting the survey determines which type you’ll need. If you’re buying a new home with a loan, you may need to get a mortgage survey. A subdivision survey gives you the information needed to break up a large piece of land into smaller sections you can build on or sell. 

Survey TypeCost Range 
As-built $750–$1,400
Fencing $250–$800
Mortgage $350–$650
New construction $1,500–$3,000
Plat$350– $600 per lot

Here’s a more in-depth look at the types of land surveys that homeowners frequently get. 

  • ALTA: American Land Title Association (ALTA) surveys cost about $1,200 to $3,000. Property owners looking to build on a lot for commercial purposes must get an ALTA survey first. It goes beyond just confirming boundaries to provide data on the topography, soil composition, and other key features. 
  • As-built: Expect to pay anywhere from $750 to $1,400 for an as-built survey. Land surveyors complete this survey type using lasers to create a 3D rendering of the home. It’s helpful in determining how much extra room the property has for additional structures. 
  • Boundary: A boundary survey costs between $150 and $700 on average. This type of survey reveals the exact property lines, making it a valuable tool for homebuyers and sellers. It’s also great for people who want to build an addition, ADU, or shed near the edge of their property. 
  • Fencing: A fencing land survey has an average price of $250 to $800. This planning survey gives you the exact boundaries of your property so you can build a fence right on the line. This helps you from building your fence in an area that could cause you to lose land or have to tear it down and rebuild it again. 
  • Mortgage: Mortgage surveys are around $350 to $650 nationwide. Mortgage lenders may require this survey before authorizing the loan. The report typically defines the exact property boundaries and the size, type, and position of all buildings on the land. 
  • New construction: Property owners pay $1,500 to $3,000 for new construction surveys. The higher cost reflects the work that goes into defining the boundaries for the first time. Once the boundaries are in place, the rest of the land development process begins. 
  • Plat: Also known as a plot plan, a plat survey is about $350 to $600 per lot. Property owners get this survey type when planning to subdivide or consolidate lots. The new plot plan defines the boundaries of the new lots to update the official record. 
  • Topographic: A topographic survey may cost around $500 to $1,200. The survey process involves identifying all the artificial and natural elements on the land. Rocks, streams, buildings, fences, and more all end up in a topographical survey. 
Today’s Homeowner Tips

I strongly recommend paying for a boundary survey when buying a home. I wish I had. Paying the $150 to $700 could have prevented a lot of heartache when buying my first home. Since my finances were tapped out, I hoped that the property boundaries matched the fence lines. Unfortunately, they didn’t, and the school I share a property line with later notified me that they own 15 feet of my backyard. Since public property isn’t subject to adverse possession laws, I’m out of luck. Don’t make the same mistake — get a boundary service when buying a home.

Property Size 

The price of a land survey ranges from $350 to over $10,000 when you account for the property size. Homeowners can expect prices to range from $50 to over $500 per acre. Smaller lots usually have a higher per-acre price overall. Most homes in the U.S. are on a half-acre lot, which can cost $400 to $700 to survey. If you have a huge property of 25 acres or more, land survey costs can quickly jump into the thousands. 

Explore our article to discover the standard yard size, which will provide you with insights into the current housing market and the type of yard you can typically expect in your state

Property SizeCost Range 
⅕ acre$350–$600
½ acre $400–$700
1 acre$500–$1,000
5 acres $500–$1,500
10 acres $1,000–$2,000
25 acres$2,000–$5,000
50 acres $2,000–$6,000
100+ acres $3,000–$10,000

Lot Shape 

Land plot for building house aerial view, land field with pins by Bigc Studio
Credit: Free for Canva Pro

The national average of $565 for land surveys applies to basic rectangular lots. Irregular lot shapes take longer to measure and map, costing about $50 more for each extra side. At that rate, hiring a surveying company to measure an irregular lot with eight sides might be $580 to $950. And don’t expect a discount for lots with fewer sides, like when surveying triangular properties. 

Lot ShapeCost Range 
Triangular $380–$750
Irregular $580–$950

Site Location 

The location also affects the average cost of land surveying. Properties in rural areas generally cost slightly less to survey. The lower cost of living and decreased service demand keep prices in the $350 to $650 range. 

In metropolitan areas where the opposite is true, average prices jump to between $550 and $1,100. The total distance the surveyor has to travel to the property may influence costs as well. This is why it’s usually a good idea to minimize travel times by finding a professional land surveyor near you. 

Site LocationCost Range 
Suburbs $400–$800
Metropolitan $550–$1,100 

Landscape Features 

Forest Engineer or Surveyor Holding Maps and Inspecting Forest Land by Kaspars Grinvalds
Credit: Free for Canva Pro

The property’s terrain and natural features impact what you might pay for an average land survey. Rugged terrain with steep hills, water features, and other barriers can significantly drive up the price. On average, a survey on a flat, 1-acre plot of land costs about $500 to $1,000. Challenging landscape features add $100 per 10,000 square feet or around $450 per acre. 

Landscape Features (1-Acre Lot)Cost Range 
Flat land $500–$1,000
Hilly, rough terrain $950–$1,450 

Research Time 

Straightforward land surveys only require the surveyor to grab the existing property documents, measure the lot, and draw up the new map and report. If prior records are missing, outdated, or inaccurate, it often adds hours to the job, resulting in a higher price. In general, additional research time can increase the base price by up to $1,000

Research TimeCost Range 
Regular survey$380–$750
Research-intensive survey$1,380–$1,750

Are There Any Other Land Survey Costs To Consider?

Land survey costs are occasionally impacted by a few other factors. So, to avoid surprises, keep the following cost considerations in mind if they might apply to your project. 

  • Documentation costs: Mortgage loan providers, title companies, and other entities occasionally request additional documentation from the surveyor. If you run into that problem, expect the surveyor to charge around $50 to $150 per hour to prepare and send out the extra paperwork. 
  • Boundary adjustments: Land surveys may need to adjust the boundary lines if the prior survey was inaccurate. That could cost anywhere from $25 to $75 per hour to complete, depending on the size, shape, and key characteristics of your property. 
  • Land preparation: Rough terrain results in a much higher survey bill. Preparing the land before calling the surveyor can save money, but only if you plan to do so in the near future. Preparing the land may involve stump removal at $250 to $400 each and land clearing that costs, on average, $2,415

Find Land Survey Cost Estimates In Your State

How Can You Save Money on Land Surveys?

Land surveys are worth the expense, but that doesn’t help when working with a limited budget. Fortunately, you can do a few things to save money on this essential service while still getting reliable results. Here are some ideas to help you get started. 

  • Know what you need: Determine what type of survey you need to avoid spending money on services that won’t help you achieve your goals. For example, if you just need a boundary survey, it doesn’t make sense to pay up to $700 extra for an as-built survey. 
  • Research land records: Save up to $1,000 on land survey costs by doing your own property research ahead of time at the recorder’s office. Ask the licensed surveyor what they might need to complete the job, then see if you can get your hands on the paperwork for them. 
  • Ask for a referral: If you’re buying or selling a property, request land surveyor referrals from your real estate agent or realtor. The surveyor may offer discounts or deals on their services for referrals. 
  • Get multiple quotes: Ask for quotes from at least three land surveyors to find the best price. But don’t just go with the lowest price. Remember to research their credentials so you can get the highest quality of service. 
  • Collaborate with neighbors: If you’re trying to pinpoint a shared property line, perhaps your neighbors might be up for sharing the costs. By doing that, you’ll both get a copy of the land survey and can use the data to complete your projects without encroaching on each other’s space. 
Property Survey Corner Marker by skibreck
Credit: Getty Images Signature; Free for Canva Pro

Professional Vs. DIY Land Surveys

When doing home improvement projects, measuring your own property line is undoubtedly tempting. But unless you’re just trying to build a small garden on the edge of your property, it’s usually not worth the risk. 

If you build a fence and your neighbor challenges its placement, your DIY land survey won’t hold up in court. You could end up having to tear down all your hard work, potentially costing you thousands of dollars in the end. Even if a dispute doesn’t occur right away, that doesn’t mean you’re out of hot water, thanks to adverse possession laws. 

The most logical option is to do it right the first time around: Opt for professional land survey services. You should also go that route whenever you need to get a survey for official entities, like mortgage companies and building permit offices. You simply can’t depend on DIY surveys when high-value assets are involved. 

How To Hire a Pro

Taking the time to hire the right professional surveyor is the key to getting great results and having a positive land surveying experience. You need someone who’s properly licensed and insured, knowledgeable about your desired land survey, and experienced in completing surveys in your area. 

You can start the search for the best professional for the job by filling out the form below to find local land surveyors. Be clear about what services you need when talking with each expert, and get at least three quotes to review. After that, check their credentials, read their contracts, and select your preferred surveyor. 

Ready to find land surveyors near you? Fill out this form. 

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FAQs About Land Survey Costs

When do I need a land survey?

You typically need a land survey when buying and selling a home, developing your land, or resolving property disputes. A survey can accurately define the legal boundaries of the land. This can minimize the risk of dealing with legal issues or make them easier to handle.

Should I pay for a survey?

Paying for a land survey is a good investment, especially when buying a property, dealing with land disputes, or ensuring your project complies with local building codes. A survey can provide the information you need to stay on the right side of the law and handle legal disputes with ease.

What is the difference between a survey and a boundary survey?

There are many different types of land surveys. A boundary survey is just one type. It’s used to get a clear picture of where the property lines are, so you can build a fence or complete other home improvement projects without worrying about boundary disputes.

How do I pay for a land survey?

You can pay for a land survey by directly hiring your own surveyor and using their preferred payment method. When getting a mortgage survey, you can elect to include the survey fee in your mortgage application.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Marie Abendroth

Marie Abendroth

Marie Abendroth is a former home improvement professional who now focuses on writing articles that help people care for their homes like a boss. Her maintenance must-dos, DIY tricks, and other insider info promise to help make your home the envy of the neighborhood. Whenever she gets a free moment, she loves frolicking with her farm dogs, playing with RC cars, and relaxing in the garden.

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Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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