What Is a Property Survey and Where Can I Get One?

What Is a Property Survey?

There are a number of varieties of property surveys, however the varieties people are most probably to want are:

  • A boundary survey: This determines the perimeter of a property to ascertain precisely how a lot land is included inside it and to make sure the title is correct. It might additionally determine whether or not any neighboring properties have encroached upon the property in addition to any easements, or areas the place entry to the property is shared by others. For instance, in case you’re shopping for a home close to a seaside, there could also be an easement permitting the general public to cross a part of your property to achieve the seaside.
  • An ALTA/ACSM survey: Additionally referred to as a mortgage survey or Prolonged Title Insurance coverage Protection Survey, this can be required by your mortgage lender or title insurance coverage firm. It determines property strains, identifies any utilities on the property and notes enhancements (similar to outbuildings, garages or fences). ALTA/ACSM surveys adjust to necessities of the American Land Title Affiliation and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.
  • An elevation or floodplain survey: This reveals the assorted elevations of the land to disclose how nice the danger of flooding is.
  • A topographic survey: Any such survey identifies not solely boundaries and man-made options of the land, similar to buildings, but in addition pure options similar to elevation, streams, lakes or hills.

For a further price, you may embrace boundary staking, which has surveyors put markers—usually concrete pillars or rebar—on the corners of the property and alongside property strains.

The price of a property survey relies on:

  • The kind of property survey.
  • The scale, form and terrain of the property. For example, surveying acres of undeveloped mountain land with vague boundaries prices greater than surveying a suburban house with a small fenced lot.
  • The quantity of analysis that is required to search out earlier property surveys, titles and different data relating to the property.
  • Journey time, attributable to the truth that surveyors cost extra for driving lengthy distances.

The common price of a property survey within the U.S. is $504, in keeping with home-owner providers firm HomeAdvisor, with the fee to survey a one-fifth-acre lot (the typical U.S. house property dimension) starting from $400 to $700.

Prices additionally range by location. Angi, one other home-owner providers firm, estimates common prices for a property survey as follows:

  • New York: $380 to $900
  • South Carolina: $250 to $600
  • Texas: $200 to $550
  • Oregon: $375 to $1,500
  • Illinois: $350 to $700


Find Hidden Property Pins

Survey pins are skinny iron bars, 2 or 3 toes lengthy and generally capped with plastic, which the unique survey crew inserted on the property strains. In case you have entry to a metal detector, transfer the machine over the bottom alongside the sidewalk to the curb to find the survey pin. Pins could also be buried slightly below the floor, or as much as a foot beneath. A number of days earlier than you dig, nevertheless, you could name 811, the free, federally designated quantity that can route you to your native utility firm. Ask the utility firm to come back out and mark any buried strains so that you don’t unintentionally hit one. There’s no cost for this service, however in case you harm a buried utility line, you might find yourself having to pay to restore it.


The place do I discover my propertys survey?

If you happen to’re shopping for a house, ask the vendor to test with their lender and/or title firm to see if there’s a property survey on file. The native tax assessor’s workplace may have one.

If you happen to’re already a house owner and a survey was by no means offered to you, your native property data or engineering division could have one on file. However even when they do, it might be outdated. Whereas such dated surveys are usually correct on commonplace metropolis tons, they are often flawed in case you stay on a former nation parcel that’s been altered for suburban growth. You may additionally attempt checking with neighbors to see the place they bought theirs.

Request Land Information and Maps

To request maps, deeds, and/or patents, please fill out as a lot of the next info as doable and submit your request to the OGS Bureau of Land Administration at [email protected]  or 518-474-2195: Please be aware:  This workplace maintains survey maps for state-owned lands and doesn’t file particular person survey maps or present land surveying providers for personal property.  Please contact the county clerk for recorded survey maps or a neighborhood surveyor for land surveying providers. What’s your identify and the individual or firm that you’re representing? What’s your contact info (cellphone quantity, deal with, e mail deal with)? What’s your most popular methodology of contact? What county or counties is the request positioned in? What municipality or municipalities is the request positioned in (ex. city, village, metropolis, and/or hamlet)? What tax map parcel or parcels does the requested cowl (ex. 123.45-1-2.3)? What’s the bodily deal with of the request (ex. 123 Most important Avenue)? What you’re requesting (ex. map, deed, and/or patent)? What extra info or particulars do you could have in regards to the request?

Making ready for the Search

There are even better information sources than you

There are even higher info sources than your deed. The perfect (and generally most elusive) doc you may lay your arms on is the surveyor’s map, or plat. The plat interprets that authorized confusion of numbers and phrases on the deed into footage. It might additionally present references to pure landmarks, or triangulation information which can find a selected level.

Plat-chasing is a serious pastime amongst surveyors. Your plat, if one exists, could accompany your deed. Or it might languish in metropolis or county data (clerks’ or surveyors’ workplaces could be the perfect locations to go looking) or reside with a earlier proprietor. Plats of neighboring land are useful, too. They might present the situation of a typical boundary.

If you happen to stay in a subdivision or built-up space, you could be questioning why your deed’s authorized description reads solely “Lot 22, Rock Creek Estates” or “Tract A, First Addition.” However these, too, are metes and bounds surveys. The surveyors created a number of tons without delay, in order that they drew one map of the entire thing. Deed descriptions merely seek advice from the grasp plat, which you’ll find within the public data.

You must also preserve a watch peeled for early variations of your property description, surveyor’s notes, and descriptions of roads that border your land. Why? First, to make sure that your deed doesn’t include errors; second, to search out out all you may about boundary markers — the important thing to property strains.

You are actually practically able to step into the surveyor’s sneakers. First, although, you’ll have to collect your gear. You’ll want a compass, lengthy measuring tape, plumb bob, degree, hatchet, some ribbon, and stakes. You’ll additionally want a keen assistant. Now test your devices. Do they learn in the identical numbers because the survey? If not, you’ll have to translate.

Most individuals may have available the kind of compass that makes use of the directional measurement referred to as azimuth. Being ornery as a rule, surveyors use one other system, referred to as bearings. To discover ways to translate one to the opposite, see the tip of the article part “Changing Azimuths to Bearings.”

On to distances. We measure lengths in toes and inches, don’t we? Properly, the surveyor makes use of both toes and tenths of a foot (be very alert for this!) or a venerable system referred to as chains. Don’t panic at this. A series measures 66 toes. Why 66 toes? As a result of it’s handy for land computations. Ten sq. chains equal one acre — which implies to compute acreage quickly, all you must do is locate the variety of sq. chains, then transfer the decimal level as soon as to the left. Additionally, one mile stretches precisely 80 chains.

A hundredth of a series — about eight inches — known as a hyperlink. Previous-timers additionally used a quarter-chain measure (16-1/2 toes), calling it a rod, pole, or perch.

I discover that if I’m confronted with an outline written in bearings and chains when my gear reads in azimuths and toes, my mind reels on the prospect of translating and tramping about on the identical time. It’s much better to translate all of the levels and distances on paper earlier than you set out.

The Residence Property Survey: Know Your Land

So what have you ever achieved? So much. If you happen to discovered some corners, you could have staved of a boundary warfare together with your neighbor. Present her or him what you’ve discovered, so that you’ll agree. Then paint a couple of timber or pile rocks across the spot so it doesn’t go to weeds. Don’t power your grandkids to undergo the identical search.

Even in case you didn’t flip up any corners, your time hasn’t been wasted. You’ve most likely dug up some helpful outdated data, and that’s half of what you’d pay an actual surveyor for.

How A lot Does A Property Survey Value?

On common, new householders can count on to pay $400 – $700 for an expert property survey. Nevertheless, the price of a property survey relies on a number of elements, similar to property dimension, terrain and placement. For instance, if you wish to survey a wooded space, you’ll find yourself paying greater than in case you have been to survey a flat, comparatively empty piece of land.

Skilled surveyors additionally cost for the time it prices them to do analysis in your property. A well-documented plot of land will take much less time to analysis and price much less cash to survey. It additionally pays to go native, since journey time can also be included within the ultimate value.

Principally, the better the land is to survey, the much less you’re going to pay.

Usher in a Skilled Surveyor

Earlier than you drive your self too loopy with the metes and bounds survey, know that the one legally binding methodology to find out actual property strains—important, for instance, in case you intend to build an addition to your house—is to have an expert survey. Native constructing codes will decide how near your property line you may legally construct. An expert survey may price from a couple of hundred to greater than a thousand {dollars}, relying on the scale of your property and the complexity of the survey. Expensive, maybe, however including to your dream home whereas protecting in your neighbors’ good graces is priceless.


RELATED: How Much Does a Land Survey Cost?


Methods to Discover Property Traces for Free

House owner’s Deed

A house owner’s deed ought to embrace a authorized description of the plot of land, together with its measurements, form, block and lot quantity, and different identifiers similar to landmarks and geographical options. If the language is difficult, attain out to your actual property lawyer or agent for assist in deciphering it.

A Tape Measure

If you wish to visually affirm your property strains, you should utilize a tape measure to find out the boundaries. From a identified level detailed within the deed’s description, measure to the property’s edge and place a stake at that time as a marker.

In spite of everything the sides have been decided, measure the gap between the stakes. Evaluate the outcomes to verify they match the corresponding deed or plat.

Current Property Survey from Mortgage or Title Firm

Most mortgage lenders require potential householders to have a present survey, and your title insurance coverage additionally relies on it. If you happen to purchased your private home lately however don’t have the survey, contact both firm to see if they’ve a duplicate on file.

Current Property Survey from County or Native Municipality

A property’s historical past and legalrecords are usually stored within the municipality or county’s tax assessor’s workplace or in its land data or constructing division. You’ll be able to normally start your search by going surfing to entry the related property data. Most municipalities supply this info at no cost, however some workplaces could require a small price or ask that you simply entry the data in individual.

Buried Pins

On the corners of your property, you could possibly discover metal bars which have been buried, generally nonetheless seen, with a marked cap on the highest finish. These have been doubtless positioned in your land when a survey was accomplished. If you happen to can’t readily see the pins (they could have been buried over time), use a steel detector that will help you find them.

Whereas this isn’t a legally binding approach to decide your property strains, it provides you with a good suggestion of the boundaries. Warning: Earlier than you begin digging, name 811, the nationwide call-before-you-dig hotline, to request the situation of buried utilities you don’t need to inadvertently dig into an underground utility line.

Use an App

Obtain an app like LandGlide that makes use of GPS to find out a parcel’s property strains. LandGlide is free for the primary seven days.


Contact your mortgage officer to search out out if he has entry the property’s survey. The mortgage lender might need a duplicate of the property survey, as a result of it additionally holds the title.

How do I rent a property surveyor?

Looking on-line for property surveyors in your space is among the greatest methods to search out firms to get the job carried out. “There’s a surveying society in every of the 50 states, all of that are affiliated with NSPS,” Sumner says. “Every of these societies has an internet site, which can usually embrace a ‘Discover A Surveyor’ part.”

It may be less expensive to work with the earlier surveyor on the property, if doable, as a result of that surveyor may have maps and data already available. If you happen to can’t find the prior surveyor, attempt the surveyors who assessed the properties subsequent door. Don’t be afraid to ask your title firm or lender for suggestions, too.

Sumner advises checking to verify a surveyor is licensed to follow within the state the place the property is positioned. You must also take the time to query your potential surveyor. Speak about your wants beforehand to verify they’ll fulfill the necessities.

How lengthy will the method take?

Sumner says there’s no approach to decide precisely how lengthy it’ll take to finish a property survey since there are such a lot of variables to think about, together with the standard and availability of property data, similar to deeds.

They’ll normally be carried out inside every week, says Wooll. Nevertheless it may take as much as three or extra, relying on the corporate and their present backlog. As is true of so many tradespeople in the mean time, demand is excessive, so wait occasions could be longer than what they have been earlier than the pandemic.

Join the E-newsletter

Get the most recent This Previous Home information, trusted ideas, methods, and DIY Smarts initiatives from our specialists–straight to your inbox.


Leave a Comment