How much will a survey cost?
Costs are related directly to the time it takes to complete your survey. The following variables may affect the time:
Type of Survey
Costs may increase as the level of precision and comprehensiveness required for the survey increases.
This necessary step is complicated by the casualness with which land has been transferred in the past, resulting in many vague, incomplete, and often contradictory legal descriptions. Cost varies depending on:
a) the number of parcels involved
b) the number of past transactions
We have found many times that the answer to boundary problems are in the research of past transfers to correct scrivener errors.
Size and Shape of Property
An irregularly shaped parcel has more corners and a longer boundary than a regularly shaped parcel containing the same area.
Government Section Retracement
This normally requires the survey of the entire Section (being, in theory, a square with sides / one mile being 640 acres) in which the land being surveyed lies, regardless of the area of the parcel. In some cases, a survey of more than one Section is required, depending on the location of the parcel in question.
A flat field is easier to survey than a mountain. Drones or GPS can mitigate this challenge somewhat, depending on vegetation/tree cover.
Branches, brush, and trees must be trimmed to afford clear paths and access of sight for the Land Surveyor to work.
The time varies with the distance to the job, and once on site the difficulty in reaching the corners. Sometimes the only way to reach a corner is walking.
Amount of Existing Evidence on the Property
Existing evidence such as iron pins, stone monuments, old fences, witness trees, etc., aid the Surveyor. Their absence may compound difficulties involved in retracing the original survey.
Local Knowledge of Property
Someone pointing out lines, documentation, and access is a considerable aid to the Surveyor.
When neighbors are cooperative, an otherwise difficult or impossible boundary line location may be established by agreement, which will save costs.
Time of Year
In the summer, foliage presents a problem. In winter, weather slows travel and sometimes conceals field evidence.
Title Company Requirements
Title Insurance Companies may require considerably more documentation than normally provided to meet the average owner’s needs.
California law requires a map or document to be filed with the County Recorder or County Surveyor when boundary lines are determined or when monuments are set or reset.
The legal description of my property deed refers to chains. What are those?
The Gunter’s chain usually referred to as a chain or abbreviated ch., is a unit of measurement invented by Edmund Gunter in 1620 and commonly used in survey distance measurement until the early 20th Century.
A chain is 66 feet long, divided into 100 links. An acre is 10 square chains.
Conversion of chains is simple. If a line is represented as being 8.76 chains in length, just multiply it by 66, to get the length in feet, in this case, it’s 578.16 feet.
My deed says that my property is located in T#N, R#W. What does that mean?
T stands for Township and R stands for Range, units that were created for the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). The PLSS dates back to 1785 and was proposed by Thomas Jefferson as a way to standardize property located across the USA that was rapidly annexing new territory.
Township is a north-south measure of six miles and Range is an east-west measure of six miles. These units are further broken down into 36 units called Sections. A Section is one square mile of land equaling 640 acres.
My deed says that my property is located in a Rancho. What does this mean?
California didn’t become a State until 1850, prior to which, the Spanish government deeded the land to people and called these lands Ranchos. The Rancho boundaries preceded the Township and Range measurements. The Rancho borders continued to be used to describe the location.