An estimate can vary depending on a variety of factors such as accessibility, location, terrain, time of year, etc. These factors will influence a Land Surveyor being able to establish an exact estimate for the survey in advance. Below is a list of various factors that may affect the cost of a survey.
Research/Records Search: Boundary Surveying requires a records search on the parcel of land. This step can sometimes become complicated by the way previous land transactions were handled. This will often result in incomplete, vague and in some cases inconsistent land records and legal descriptions and must be taken in account when surveying your property.
Accessibility: The location of a parcel from the land surveyor’s office plays part in the amount of time that it takes to perform the survey work. This includes the distance to the site and any difficultly in reaching the property corners. If monuments called for in your deed are located in a busy street more care will be required locate them. The same goes for if the monuments in the street have been destroyed due to street improvements or repaving, which commonly occurs.
Time of Year: In the winter, travel time may be effected because of road conditions, this may effect travel time to the site. Winter weather may also hide field evidence. Summer time foliage can also present challenges to the site.
Vegetation: Brush, tree branches and small trees can impede the time it takes to survey your property. The removal of such vegetation allows the surveyor a clear line of sight when performing a survey. Residential landscaping and trees on home sites are normally undisturbed but may require additional time to survey around them. Terrain: Mountainous terrain is generally more difficult to survey than a level parcel of land.
Public Land Survey System/ Sectionalized Land: Depending on where your parcel is located (ex. remote area), the surveyor may have to break down an entire one mile square section of where your parcel lies. In some cases where the parcel falls into multiple sections a survey of those sections will also be required
Existing Evidence on Property: Existing evidence such as iron monuments, fences and occupational lines, witness trees, etc. are beneficial to the surveyor. Absence of this evidence may make it difficult for the surveyor to replicate the initial survey or information called for in the deed.
Record of Survey: If any corners are set which establish property lines, it is required by law that a corner record card or Record of Survey be filed with the Country Surveyor/ Recorder in the county where your property is located. When a Record of Survey is necessary, the cost of the survey will be increased to account for the time it takes to draw up the map after the field work is completed. A Record of Survey filing fee is also required by the county. In Sacramento County this fee is around $1,000- $1,800 and in El Dorado County it is $135, each County sets their own rate.
Find out what their expectations are, obtain their address, research their property, provide them with a written estimate, if the estimate is accepted I provide them with my formal survey agreement, complete the work and provide them with the deliverable. Sometimes the deliverable is stakes in the ground and can be turned around in a couple days and sometime it is a Record of Survey and can take six months to complete
On the job training and then earning my Bachelors Degree in Geomatics/ Land Surveying while working full time and raising a family (well my wife raised our children, I assisted but couldn’t have done it without her).
Joined the Marines as an 0311 grunt and worked my way up from there.
Everyone from private home owners (rural and urban), business owners (large and small) and Government agencies.
Get multiple estimates because every situation is unique and what one surveyor might think is difficult and charge a lot for another might be surveying nearby and have most of their property already located (true story). One more thing… many companies offer Site Plans and are not licensed Land Surveyors. They may claim to offer the same service but in reality they are violating the law by offering these services. Only Licensed Land Surveyors or pre ’82 Engineers (verified with the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists) can locate and show property lines on a Site Plan.
See the comments below… Part one of the “requirement” reference can be found in Section 107.2.5 of the 2013 California Building Code. For a site plan, it specifically states, “…. it shall be drawn in accordance with an accurate boundary line survey….” Part two – property corners need to be marked or set – comes from the County building inspectors needing verification on the ground as to the location of the “boundary line”. The inspectors have encountered numerous situations where a new building/structure encroached into a setback or over a property line. One such project encroached by 25 feet.
What is their expectation the surveyor is to accomplish and what is their address because the surveyor can only give a vague estimation without having the address.