A boundary survey costs how much? I thought it would be $500?! Why is a land survey so expensive?
We get it. We’ve all been there. When building on to your home or even starting a new project from scratch there is a seemingly endless parade of architects, contractors, sub-contractors, engineers, inspectors, etc. all eating away at your budget. It’s easy to be tempted to just go with the lowest bid. But stop a moment and think about it. You know the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” That’s true in surveying as well. Some people put more consideration into the selection of the person laying the marble tile than the person responsible for outlining their property and making sure whatever they are building is put in the right place! That’s understandable. You can see and touch the tile and you know whether or not the job was done right by looking at it. A boundary survey, on the other hand, is intangible and hard to visualize, so it’s easy not to give it the consideration it deserves. In both cases, you want to make sure the person you hire is competent, licensed, professional and will stand by the quality of their work. In the case of a land surveyor, that could include being able to back up their work in court. The lowest bid might “get the job done,” but always be sure to ask the right questions to make sure you get the survey you need. (See 5 questions to ask a land surveyor before hiring them to survey your property.)
If your property is valued at $700,000, a professional boundary survey that will result in a legal document describing the boundary of your property will generally cost less than 1% of the value of your asset.
Professional Land Surveyors have the education, experience and expertise to get the job done right and to be compliant with the law.
Land Surveying is a professional service much like engineering and architecture. In fact, many Professional Land Surveyors have undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering or similar field. Surveyors doing boundary work should be licensed by the state in which they perform the work. All 50 states license land surveyors for the protection of the public. While requirements vary by state, six to eight years of experience in the profession is required to qualify for the 12-hour licensing exam. Many states also require an undergraduate degree in surveying (or engineering) to qualify. Professional Land Surveyors are experts in measurement and the legal aspects of boundary law. This is necessary to enable the surveyor to provide their professional opinion about your property boundary, record that opinion in a legal document and support that opinion in court.
A lot of work and expertise goes into determining your boundary.
Surveyors also sometimes suffer from mistaken identity. Because people see us out in the middle of the street in our orange vests they assume we are road workers or landscapers or are just out taking pictures. In truth, a survey crew is made up of professionals who are educated in measurement and advanced math and who need to make complex calculations using sophisticated equipment. And that’s just the field work. Before the crew steps foot on your property, someone has conducted extensive research to find existing legal documents affecting the title of your property, the recorded maps and documents that created your property, and survey markers in the vicinity of your property. Once the survey is complete, a complex analysis of the field work is performed to ensure the quality of the data. A licensed land surveyor needs to check (and double check) every point before the map can be stamped and submitted to be recorded as a legal document. The stamp of a licensed land surveyor imparts their professional opinion about the location of your property boundary lines. This deliverable is likely one of the most important documents you should own.
You want a survey that will help protect the value of your home.
At the end of the day, it’s all about quality, service and value. To put it another way, let’s say your property is valued at $700,000. A professional boundary survey that will result in a legal document describing (and protecting) the boundary of your property will generally cost less than 1% of the value of your asset. Your property, and peace of mind, is worth it.