Survey work contains a lot of variables that it is impossible to account for prior to beginning work mostly due to the quality of existing monuments in the area. Therefore, it is difficult to determine exactly how much a survey will cost (PBOT).

The cost for most land surveys is based on the following factors:

  • SURVEY TYPE: The complexity of a survey and the presence of
    any disputes are significant factors. The development of large
    industrial sites or rural land could require many hours of
    effort as compared to the survey of a residential lot; cost is
    proportional to the time needed to complete.
  • RECORD SEARCH: Research varies by (a) the number of parcels;
    (b) the number of past transactions; and (c) the quality of
    legal descriptions, which may require examining property
    ownership documents; e.g., deed records, road records,
    and planning reports.
  • PROPERTY SIZE AND SHAPE: An irregularly shaped parcel has more
    property corners to mark than a rectangular parcel containing
    the same area. The property size, along with features such as
    water boundaries, has a direct effect on the time required to
    survey the land.
  • SECTIONALIZED SURVEY WORK: Oregon rural property surveys are
    typically based on work that was performed more than 100
    years ago by General Land Office (GLO) surveyors. Following
    in the footsteps of these “sectionalized” surveys (a section =
    one square mile) could require considerable effort. Looking
    for evidence of old surveys is an art and can require
    extensive fieldwork.
  • TERRAIN: A level parcel of urban land is easier to survey than
    a mountainous rural parcel.
  • VEGETATION: Branches, brush, and small trees must often be
    cleared near the property boundaries to provide a line of
    sight. Shrubs, flowers, and trees on home sites are normally
    not disturbed but may require additional field time to avoid
    when placing final corners.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: The time needed to perform surveying work
    varies with the distance to and difficulty in reaching property
    boundaries. Your land surveyor may need to recover survey
    monuments on a neighbor’s property some distance away
    from the parcel being surveyed. These distant survey
    monuments may influence boundary location, affecting costs
    left by previous surveyors may assist your land surveyor; for
    example, iron, wood, or stone monuments (markers), old
    fences and other evidence of boundaries erected. Testimony
    by long-term residents may be required and valuable.
  • DIFFICULT NEIGHBORS: When neighbors are cooperative, a
    controversial boundary line location may be set through
    boundary line agreements at considerable cost savings.
    When neighbors dispute a boundary, access to important
    boundary evidence may be difficult, thereby affecting costs.
  • SEASON: In the summer, thicker foliage may result in more field
    labor; winter weather may slow travel as well as conceal
    critical field evidence.
  • TITLE COMPANY/LENDER REQUIREMENTS: Landowners should have a
    good understanding of the costs and documents required
    prior to beginning a survey. Your land surveyor can assist you
    in understanding these requirements.
  • OTHER FACTORS: State law requires filing of a survey map
    with the County Surveyor whenever a boundary monument
    is established. Most counties charge recording fees to
    maintain these records, which may be costly. Due to the
    potentially litigious nature of property law, some companies
    carry professional liability insurance as additional protection
    for their clients.