Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a land survey cost?

Residential Mortgage Location Surveys (for Title and Lending ONLY) are performed at standard prices on a three-tier system that you can view here.

Commercial Mortgage Location Surveys (for Title and Lending ONLY) are individually quoted, and start at $500 and up, based on complexity and requirements.

Residential Boundary Surveys are individually quoted, starting at $1,400 and up based on complexity and requirements.

ALTA Surveys are individually quoted, starting at $2,500 and up based on complexity and requirements. The average cost of an ALTA Survey is approximately $3,200.

Topographic, Lot Splits/Consolidations and other Commercial Surveys are individually quoted, starting at $1,800 and up based on complexity and requirements.

How do you read a land survey?

Most surveys include metes and bounds descriptions read and interpreted using a compass rose and measured in decimal feet. McSteen offers classes on reading legal descriptions as well as the different types of surveys.

How can two land surveys be different?

Land surveying is both a science and an art. The science and mathematics of completing a survey is an incredibly precise process of data gathering. The interpretation of data gathering, however, is at the discretion of the licensed surveyor performing the survey to give his or her professional opinion.

Legal descriptions can be unclear and/or surrounding deeds can contain conflicting information. It is the surveyor’s job to piece together the information and provide the best opinion possible with the available facts and data. The art of drawing those conclusions can vary slightly from surveyor to surveyor even when interpreting for the same tract of land.

Is a land survey required for closing a real estate transaction?

Most Title Companies and Lenders will require a Mortgage Location Survey for closing in order to issue title insurance and secure the value of the mortgage.

What are the types of land surveys?

Mortgage Location Survey, ALTA Survey, Boundary Survey, Topographic Survey, and Lot Split/Consolidation. You can learn more about each here.

What is an ALTA survey?

Generally contracted for the transfer of Commercial Real Estate for purpose of insuring Title. An ALTA survey shows both property boundary lines and all improvements to the property as well as their location in relation to the boundary lines.

When is an ALTA survey required?

An ALTA Survey is generally required for the transfer of commercial property.

What is a topographical survey?

Topographic Survey includes field measurement and preparation of a plat to establish land elevations. These surveys are typically contracted by a residential or commercial property owner before making improvements to the property such as, but not limited to, building additions, landscaping, or parking lots.

What is a construction draw inspection?

A construction lending best practice used by most lenders is ordering a draw inspection to validate progress in conjunction with disbursing funds. In a construction draw inspection, the lender hires an inspector to visit the construction site and assess progress to show where the project is in relation to the timeline that was set out, check the accuracy compared to the original draw request, and review the budget. They’re also likely to look at any stored materials kept on the site.

What is a foundation survey?

foundation survey collects information about the position of a foundation that was poured by a contractor to ensure that it is in the right location and that it is built with the proper setbacks and zoning methods.

What is the purpose of a mortgage location survey?

Mortgage Location Survey (MLS) is usually requested – and sometimes required – by your mortgage lender or title insurance company when you buy a home to verify that the property they’re lending you money to purchase is as described in legal documents and is suitable as collateral for your mortgage loan.

Why do I need a mortgage location survey?

A Mortgage Location Survey (MLS) confirms to the title company that what is described in the property’s deed is what is actually transferring in real life and identifies potential property issues, including encroachments and easements.

What is the difference between a boundary and a mortgage location survey?

Boundary surveys and mortgage locations are most commonly seen by property owners when purchasing land and/or planning property improvements. An MLS  shows the property lines per the legal description and any recorded easements, right of ways, etc., while a Boundary Survey is done by a crew of surveyors both in the field and the office, property corners are physically marked at the site, and lines are determined by surveyor calculation.

A good rule of thumb is if the work you are planning to do requires a permit for construction, a boundary survey is the way to go.

Why is utility locating important?

Private utility locators are necessary to mark out electrical, gas, septic, water and drainage lines on private, residential, commercial, and municipal properties for purposes of land development and project planning. While public utility locators only identify and mark public utility lines (in the right of way), a private utility locator will find and mark underground electrical lines, gas pipes, and more, on private, residential, commercial, and municipal land.