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Question DetailsAsked on 9/9/2016

How much will it cost to get a survey for a fence line?

We believe that our current fence line is incorrect.

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3 Answers


For a normal length residential fence - about 100-200LF on 2 or three sides of the property - typically around $150-250 ASSUMING reasonably clear sightlines along the fence AND that the property corners can be located (usually 1/2" rebar with a wood stake or lath marking it).

IF they have to go further afield to pick up survey control and bring it into your property, that can add around $100 and on up depending on how far they have to go to find survey hubs - commonly less than a block in developed subdivisions so usually to the lower end of the range in that case. In way outlying areas, on islands, etc I have seen it run over $1000-2000, on up to $5000 range in areas accessible only by helicopter or ATV or snow machine or such, but that is a rare case.

Brushing or tree cutting to provide line of sight for the surveying can also add a hundred or few in the normal case - but can be substantial in dense woods, though for alignment of the fence that will likely not be a problem.

In discussing cost with the Land Surveyor (your Angies List Search the List category) ask how much more it will cost to reset property corners if they cannot be found, so you have corners in place for future reference and also for as-built survey when you go to sell the house.

Also be sure to be able to tell him whether you want the actual property line to be marked as well as surveying the location of the fence relative to the line, called offset measurements, commonly taken every change of direction of the fence and every 10-25 feet along it. Property line marking are usually 1/2" rebar or hardwood hubs driven on the property line every 20-25 feet or so and at every change of property line direction, sticking up an inch or so, to mark the property line. These can be marked with survey ribbon or protective 4' lath - or for greater long-term ease of locating them you can sleeve a piece of white PVC pipe a foot long or so around the rebar to make it easier to see. This should be done by the surveyor during his work so the pin is not bumped out of proper alignment by the driving of the PVC - but they will not usually have pieces with them, so normally something the homeowner has to get and cut to provide to the surveyor if you want that done. If you prefer, surveyors carry long metal spikes with "porcupine quills" - colored nylon strands that stick up 8 inches or so to mark the points, normally used to mark points in asphalt and gravel roadways, and these can be used to mark the property line.

Also be sure to make clear that if you intend to use these markings for reinstalling the fence on the property line, that you get a sketch from him of the survey and offset and property line pins for the record in case the fencing company or neighbor wants proof the new fence location is not over the line.

Also - I recommend setting the fence back a few inches from the line, on your side - so there is no chance of the fence infringing on the line (which would make it joint ownership and responsibility between the adjacent landowners) - that can cause problems in sale escrow, as well as making its maintenance and possible removal an item requiring agreement between you and the neighbor. Remember, your current neighbor is not going to be there forever, so assume you may get a new neighbor someday who is not pleasant or cooperative and be sure any fence you build is totally on your side of the line.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Im little concerned that the answers here are misleading. The truth is a land surveyor is a professional engineer. Most states require a land surveyor to be registared and they follow and are subject to the states board of engineers.

Moreover, in California, a valid survey is more likely in the thousands and never in the hundreds.

I only say this becuase I went to the list when I wanted my boundary staked for a fencing project and it cost $3800. I first thought that the estimate was un-reasonable. I secured three other estimates and all were in the same range.

Honestly I'm a little upset by the misleading information. I budgeted on the idea that it would be in the hundreds and that was simply not he case.

It would nice if Angies list could cross reference the truth.

Answered 3 years ago by hudson123


Hudson123 - I can only surmise that you were either talking a lot longer fence thant he normal 1/4 acre or so residential lot which the response price assumed, very rough terrain or lots of brushing needed to get line of sight, or you were in an area where local survey control was not available so they had to go locate and "bring in" the survey from quarter section or section corners (which are at 1/4 and 1 mile grids, respectively- though commonly about 1/4-1/2 are destroyed so you have to go further out to find them).

Or you were looking to have property boundaries established and maybe an ALTA survey (which locates property lines, structures on the property, and interferences, for use by the title insurance company to be sure there are no interferences or adverse claims on the property - that is typically more in the $500-700 range in most parts of the country, can be $1000-2000 in some urban areas and in areas with conflicting easements or ownership documents - which includes a good portion of California which was originally under Spanish Land Grants.

I have ordered/paid for probably a hundred or more lot surveys, and I can assure you that a couple to few hundred is typical for simple fencing locates or layouts (in built-up urban/suburban areas with nearby survey control). Even a 10-15 acre fencing/boundary line survey commonly has not typically run over $1000-2000except in heavy timber where serious timbering is needed to clear line of sight - including in California, so I think your case must have been unusual for some reason. And today commonly less for fencing layout, which is commonly done (unless the owner wants to crowd right to the property line) using GPS survey, which is accurate to within about 2-5 feet depending on equipment used and locale (GPS satellite coverage and accuracy is not uniform everywhere).

Data from California professional surveyor association indicates about $400-600 is usual recent cost for a property presale survey (which includes checking fences for property line infringement as well as locating structures and such on the property andpreparing a sketch of same, and confirming and sometimes reestablishing corner markers - so a lot more than a simple fenceline layout or check.

Or maybe you went to a professional engineering firm to get it done - which would typically cost 50-200% more than going direct to an independent land surveyor - particularly if you were paying at an engineer's (engineer who is also licensed as a surveyor) hourly rates (commonly $150-250/hour for engineer plus a rodman) rather than the more typically $75-150/hour for a surveyor and rodman (helper). Because you say you got several quotes tht were similar, that would be my guess - or your job was unusually difficult.

And BTW - a land surveyor is NOT a Professional Engineer, though some states regulate both (and commonly architects and sometimes geologists too) under the same licensing board, some have separate boads or commissions for engineers and surveyors.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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