How much will it cost to have my land surveyed?

The cost of a survey can vary greatly and is dependent upon many variables: the size of the property; the type of property; the type of survey being done; the purpose of the survey; the number and size of improvements on the property; and the terrain of the property. For example, a survey to facilitate the construction of a new fence on a small lot in a newly developed subdivision could cost as little as $350, while a survey to divide a large tract of wooded land could cost many thousands of dollars.

In most cases it will not be possible to get more than an estimate, because many of the factors involved in determining the cost are indeterminable early in the process. The final cost depends upon the time required to perform research, and to obtain the necessary information, to perform preliminary fieldwork, to perform the required office mapping and computations, and to monument your lines on the ground. An estimate will be prepared based on our experience in estimating the hours of work necessary to complete your job that will be used as the basis for a written contract. Please be aware that a proper and accurate survey is seldom accomplished by the least expensive estimate. If there is a wide price difference between estimates, it usually means the surveyor with the lowest price is not conducting the required research of historical archives and is conducting a survey by bearing and distance without searching for evidence of the original survey. The surveyor who usually wins in court is the one that has a preponderance of evidence to support his boundary opinion.

The cost of an Elevation Certificate for a single parcel of land or single structure is usually between $350 and $450.

The cost of a LOMA application is usually $350.


When can you begin the survey, and how long will it take to finish?

If you have deadlines, please let us know at the time of your request. We will do our best to satisfy your requirements. Usually, we cannot schedule specific times for field work, because it is difficult to estimate when we will be finished with previously scheduled jobs. When you receive your proposal it will contain a projected completion time. We require a signed Agreement for Professional Services prior to scheduling any work for a new client.


Why do Boundary Surveys cost so much?

Boundary surveys may be relatively inexpensive, if the original monuments exist at the mapped positions. The cost goes up depending upon the availability of original monuments or the complexities involved in establishing the original positions of the monuments. A Land Surveyor’s job is to locate the position of the boundary in the same location as established by the original creating surveyor. Older parcels can require a great deal of research and analysis to determine when the parcel was created and what surveys have taken place that may have perpetuated the original evidence. A heavily vegetated or fully landscaped property will also increase the cost of a survey.


Who pays for a survey?

In residential transactions, the cost of a survey is usually included in the purchaser’s closing costs since it is their mortgage company which requires it. Otherwise, like most everything else in real estate, payment for the survey can be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. Payment for other types of surveys is the responsibility of the person requesting the survey.


What types of survey work do you perform?

Our services include Boundary Surveys, Proposed Plot Plans or Site Plans (to satisfy City/County Planning Department regulations for land use and building permits); Elevation Certificates (and LOMA applications), Construction Staking, Surveyor Location Reports (for lending institutions), ALTA Surveys, and Subdivisions. In many instances, we can also write or revise legal descriptions that may not require a survey.


Why would I need a Land Survey?

To determine the boundaries or features of your land in order to build, develop, satisfy local code or building requirements, to find out whether you have encroachments on your land, to find out where the land is that you own, to settle a dispute over a property line with your neighbor. To determine the location for fencing, landscaping, building, developing or using land where the common boundary has not been identified.


Why do I need to use a Licensed Land Surveyor?
Only a Professional Land Surveyor licensed by the Indiana State Board of Professional Land Surveyors is legally authorized to practice land surveying in the State of Indiana.


What information will my Land Surveyor need?

If you have personal information or documents regarding the history of your property, please provide us with copies. Documents might include a previously completed boundary survey, Abstract of Title, Title Insurance policy, property deeds, property maps, easement descriptions, and boundary / easement agreements. For surveys involving the placement and location of manmade structures or improvements, a set of certified plans from your Architect or Engineer will be needed.

We recommend that you have a Title Search prepared in conjunction with your Survey. If provided with a Title Search, we can note easements or other encumbrances of record that may affect your property on the Plat of Survey. We would be happy to recommend a title searcher to you, if needed.

You will also need to provide the Surveyor with some idea of what you wish to accomplish or who has suggested you need a survey – this will give the surveyor an idea of the type of survey you may require.


Where can I get a copy of my deed?

Deeds are recorded by the County Recorder of the county in which the property is located. The County Recorder also records liens, covenants and restrictions placed upon property, as well as recorded subdivision plats.

You may already have a copy of your deed in the “closing packet” – the documents provided to you when you purchased your land.  If not, visit the County Recorder’s office and ask for a copy.


I want to subdivide or build on my property and the City/County Planning Department told me that I need to have a survey. What do I do?

Ordinances and restrictions vary between city and county, and from community to community. We can help you determine which community planning department you need to deal with, and which ordinances apply to your specific situation. Then we can furnish you a survey related product that fits your needs and budget. This can be as easy as preparing a new legal description or providing a proposed plot plan or site plan, or it may require a complicated survey or subdivision plat.


What is the 100-Year Flood Plain, and why do I need Flood Insurance?

Areas shown as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a particular community. These areas are darkly shaded on the FIRM. Property which lies in a SFHA has a 1 percent chance of being flooded in any given year. If your house is located within this shaded area you will be required by your lender to carry a flood insurance policy. An Elevation Certificate prepared by a Land Surveyor and submitted to your insurance agent will guarantee that you are paying the lowest possible premiums.


When I bought my house, I was required by the bank to pay for flood insurance. I believe my house is high enough and will not flood. Is there a way I can remove the requirement for flood insurance?

Yes. If your property meets certain requirements established by FEMA, they will issue a letter stating that your bank is not required to collect flood insurance, called a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). Data from a completed Elevation Certificate will determine whether or not your property qualifies for a LOMA, which should remove the insurance requirement.


What marks my property corners?

Property corners can be marked with a variety of materials. In the 1800’s, Surveyors typically did not carry monuments with them. The surveyors would create a property corner monument using whatever materials were available. This usually meant using a stone monument or carving a “blaze” nearby tree. Other items used in times past were pieces of metal that were readily available, like iron pipes or car axles.


The most common material used today is 5/8” diameter steel rebar of a length suitable for the ground conditions, usually 3 feet. Currently, the rules of the Indiana State Board of Professional Land Surveying require that wherever practical, all new monuments have an identifying marker which ties the monument to the surveyor who placed it, usually a plastic cap with the Surveyor’s name and license number. The size and material of all property corners should be shown on the survey plat. Other items that might mark existing property corners include: iron pipes; wooden stakes; poured concrete monuments; crosses or other figures cut into concrete; masonry nails driven into asphalt pavement; saw cuts in concrete curbs.


What is an easement?

An easement is the right to use the land of another for a specific purpose. Title to the land remains with the owner, however use of the land is subject to the easement. The most common type of easement is a Utility Easement. A Utility Easement grants to all public utility companies the right to use that strip of land for their systems. Easements can also be for other uses such as access and drainage.

Easements can be dedicated by the property owner by recording a plat, or by the execution of a written document, which is similar to a deed. Easements can also be granted to prohibit certain activities. For example, an easement might be granted on land near an airport that prohibits building above a certain height. Easements almost always “run with the land”, or continue in force upon future landowners so your property can be impacted by easements granted by property owners many years ago.