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Ely Lake Expert

question about property surveying?

51 posts in this topic

My parents own 70 acres and have always wanted to get it surveyed so they would know the correct property lines and corners. Does anyone know approximately how much this would cost? Also does anyone have any recommendations from past experience as to who does a good accurate job and is worth calling?

Thanks,

Ryan

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I am looking to have my small residential lot done and have had many estimates. It has ranged from $1,000 to over $3,000. From what I have heard you need to find someone who has done work in the area and has somewhere to start.

LovenLifeGuy

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I just had 160 done in Washington County in Wisconsin. I thought it was going to be 5 maybe 10K. But the bids came in and WOW was I surprised, they ranged from 24-31K. Of course I took the 24K one but I am so glad I had it done. It is great that you own land but if you dont know the boundry lines what good is it.

Good Luck.

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Price will definitely depend on a couple of things:

-size of survey, the larger sizes(100's of acres, full sections) will decrease the per acre price

-condition of existing monuments (section corners and 1/4 corners, tree lines or fence lines, rock piles covering the corners, etc...)

-conditions of land (wooded vs. open, water, etc...)

-if there has been work done by them in the immediate area

I would think that $1,000 will be a minimum, but it would be a good idea to check your county's website to see if they can help out. Get a few quotes, too, of course.

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$24,000 just to know where the property lines are? when you have 160 acres who cares where the lines are...I can guess where the middle is.

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I paid about $750 to have a city lot surveyed a few years back.

When getting estimates, ask if they have any history in the area. If they have a location they know is exact, it'll help them measure to your property and cut some of the preliminary work.

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I agree trout hunter. I've got 150 ac and I wouldn't even pay a thousand dollars to survey unless I were selling or having encroachment problems. Ouch 20,000 plus, not a chance, thats 15% percent of the value to find corners?

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I live in the UP of Michigan and it is a little different here also so maybe I can explaine to you why I had it done. IN Washington county it is all private except the land that borders my proptery. I inhearited the land 5 years ago and I have had nothing but issues with Stands being stolen, watching a group of hunters drive my land twards the public land. I am sick of it. I think 24K is a small price to pay to know what you own and what you pay taxes on.

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We had our 80-acres/hunting land done about 5-years ago and what we did was we just had the surveyors drop in the 4 corner pins along with 2 pins in the middle of the property lins and the bill only came to around $650. We went along with the surveyors that day while they were doing it and pounded in 6ft posts where they put the pins in the ground, if you have them put in the pins in the middle too you can pretty much make a strait line of your property with 3 points in the the middle of the corners. Also sometimes if a propety owner also wants it done, you can ask them, you may be able to split the costs of the adjoining sides of ownership, One thing to think of that we experienced was, the survey almost always on either side fo the property, one of the ownder gains or loses proptery on sides so the land owner that usually loses propery gets another survey done anyhow so you might as just well go in together on the adjoining property lines that butt's up to another land owner, just my experience.

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Sorry I don't have any real experience to add to this chat, and I don't know all the work involved to survey land, but I do side with the guys who feel 24k is a whole lot to pay for a survey...something seems funky in Denmark for that price. You surely mean 24 Hundred, not Thousand, dollars?

How long did it take them to do the survey? What am I missing here?

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Holy smokes 24K did you get a 30 year loan on that. That is rediculas. Call the county or get a plot book for $60.00 and find the GPS cordinates of your corners. With technology these days you can be with in a foot or so. I'd almost bet that is the way the surveyors do it. You take there error factor of shooting their transits and where they are starting from I'd almost bet your more accurate with GPS cordinates.

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GPS coordinates, good idea. Except, probably not legally binding. But, better than $20000.

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Thanks for the replies guys. My parents land could be tough to do, which would mean more $$$ frown.giffrown.gif To give you an idea why let me explain. The 70 we own was originally 80 acres (1/2 mile X 1/4 mile). 2 of the sides are bordered by dirt roads. The previos owner sold 10 acres about 3/4 of the way down the 1/2mile side, but the 10 acres is a wierd chunk. It is about 150 yards along the road and then it goes straight back into the woods however far it needs to go to get 10 acres and then we own more along the road on the other side of them. Also, it is about 25 acres of open field, 40 acres of somewhat thick woods, and 5 acres of lowland in the back corner. Another thing is there is a small river zigzaging though the middle of the property.

Another point of concern is, I talked to a buddy of mine going to school for surveying and he said that even though the original boundry was the roads, if it hasn't been surveyed for many years erosion may have actually moved the road over a significant amount without being noticeable and that is just another thing to think about.

If it is an excessive amount my parents won't do it because they have no intention of selling it anyway. We just think the neighbor with the 40 next to us might have built his cabin on our land and we would just like to know for future reference. We get along fine so it is no issue, but it would be good to know if they ever decide to sell.

From the above info, does anyone have any educated guesses on the cost?

Ryan

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24K to survey the property???? Wholly price-tags Batman!!!

I am definitely in the wrong line of work. How is this justified? What do they do? Take a GPS and drive a stake in the ground? Maybe this is more complicated than I understand but my gosh, it can't possibly that involved. For 24K I could give a rat's whatever where the property line is. Rob 10' from me for all I care.

And we think $3/gal. gas is highway robbery!

Bob

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Quote:

24K to survey the property???? Wholly price-tags Batman!!!

I am definitely in the wrong line of work. How is this justified? What do they do? Take a GPS and drive a stake in the ground? Maybe this is more complicated than I understand but my gosh, it can't possibly that involved. For 24K I could give a rat's whatever where the property line is. Rob 10' from me for all I care.

And we think $3/gal. gas is highway robbery!

Bob


You're way off base, it is a lot more complicated than that. You're little consumer grade GPS isn't used for legal boundaries and it's more complicated than sticking in 4 corners and drawing a straight line. Some parcels require more work than others. I built a GIS system for the world's largest Oil Company (not Exxon/Mobil, bigger) and when we went about capturing as builts for pipelines, flowlines and tie lines we were spending $10M/year for survey work not including a whole lot of effort by our group to make that information useful GIS data. As to the $24K cost for that one parcle it maybe high, maybe low, maybe just about right, it all depends on what they needed to do inorder to meet the specifications they were given.

Our handheld consumer GPS units are a great development but they aren't very accurate (100' isn't accurate) and if you use differential GPS units used for surveys you still have issues with Geodetic datum changes as well as the specifications of the legal boundary definitions, almost all of which were made way before satellites were invented.

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I am curious how long this 24k survey took? I mean, someone could live off 24k a year. Do one survey a year and spend the rest of the time fishing, now that would be nice.

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Here is what I have experienced. I purchased a forty 15 yrs ago and I had a suveyor come out through the realty company and mark the four corners. This included a tape measure and markings on trees from who knows when. I know up in the northern woods of Minnesota some of us people up here are considered back a few years but come on it is 2006. I built my garage two years ago and went into the county office to get permit to put it up and they told me to draw a picture of my property and where I want the building. I kind of giggled at the guy and said where am I suppose to even start. His comment was so many feet from the center of the road. HMMMMMM Lets think here in the past 50 years since this was last surveyed how much has our technology increased. Back then nails were pounded into trees to mark a corner, paint another form of marking. Someone went around and pounded in a post and called that a corner. Who knows the neighbor down the road might just go out one night and dig a new hole and stick the post in the ground and call it his land. Just foreinstance in my back yard there are two three foot metal poles indicating my property lines. Well one day I see the neighbor out there pounding in the post in a new hole. I called the county office and they gave me GPS cordinates of my property lines. The post was moved about three feet in his favor. I just did as they said I took my neighbor out with a 100' tape and measured off the center of the road and remarked the post. No big deal for me but I can see where a building might cause problems. As for acres of land being with in a few feet I would concider that pretty good. Who knows!!!!! I know for a fact if it came down to me paying 24K to have someone come out and mark my corners I would tell them to go and fly a kite for that price.

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WOW you guys are all about the sticker price. How much did you last truck cost, and how much was it worth in 5 years? I justified the 24K being it is not a square 160, there are some inlets and some of the west boundry line in zoned comerical. The proptery is valued between 300-500K so to say it is %15 of the value of the land it way off line, and if I have 24K into and know exactally where my lines are I think I am sitting pretty nice.

For those of you who use rock piles and tree lines as the actual boundry line, all I got to say is good luck in court if anything happens.

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There is MUCH more involved than what you actually see in the field. A city lot and a section out in the sticks are VERY different. There is a lot of office and paper work involved, too. The fact that much of this farm land was marked out in the 1800's by people on horseback for months at a time means there are limited types of markers used, from wood post (poor choice) to piles of rocks, to dimensional ties using nails in trees coinciding upon a point, to a depression with a specific rock placed in it. If you think about it, when is the last time someone marked out NEW property in Minnesota? I guarantee is has been a couple of years grin.gif. Lex Luther wasn't so far off in those Superman movies. The only marking now is remarking old corners or subdividing existing parcels. Many counties are paying survey firms to locate and get sub-1/2 inch accurate readings (many times using GPS) on original found markers or accurately reset markers. If your neighbor is moving "property markers" he IS breaking the law, and to move them back yourself is also breaking the law. It sounds insignificant, but this is dealing with long established lines and boundaries, and needs to be left intact in the future.

The other thing to think about is the tools used back then. They had a "chain" which had 100 links certified to be exactly 66' long. This is what they used to pull miles and miles and miles of section lines, accounting for slope due to hills, variances in magnetic north to true north, and so forth. To really correctly relocate and reset monumentation, a surveyor is to use units and applicable tools available to the original survey at it's inception date and refer to the most applicable original plat drawings. GPS is not applicable in most of these older scenarios, but we do what we can. Setting current points can be done with differential GPS and a reference system or station, and SteveWilson made good points about what is all involved in current surveying practice, and that is scratching the surface about CORRECT work being done. To be legally binding it is not just measuring with a steel tape by a landowner. If both landowners agree, it can be just fine for your needs. It seems today that most people aren't happy with just agreeing upon a line, though, and $24,000 gets you only so much litigation these days. Expensive, yes, but imagine Japan at hundreds of thousands of dollars for small segments of an acre. I wonder what they have for surveying costs. blush.gif

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Everyone is is a surveyor today aren't they grin.gif. No handheld GPS are not accurate enough for surveying. Surveyor GPS are accurate to 1/4". They also cost just a wee bit more than a handheld. Also depending on how it has been recorded a tree row, fence line can be legal lines if there is nothing else in the area. Rock piles are often original corners so they too can be legal corners. It all depends on the area you are in as to what you find. The more research you can do ahead of time the cheaper it will be for you in the long run though. One other thing to remember GPS are awesome but if in a heavy wooded area or urban area they will not work well to much interference in cities and to much cover in the woods. Often surveys still need to be done with a total station in these areas.

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Good Call MCGurk. I will never sell due I love the land and it has been in my family for almost 100 years. I will say it again, 24K is a drop in the bucket for a lifetime of worry free boundries.

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Quote:

Everyone is is a surveyor today aren't they
grin.gif
.


Yes, I am today, and have been in the field for only about 5 years. Still learning myself! Just don't tell my boss I'm learning here right now! blush.gif

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Just out of couriosity what did they mark your corners with?? Maybe I'm just old but 24K is still a lot of money. As for a truck I use every day compared to a post that any Tom, Dick or Harry can move anytime they like. I'll stick with the truck and maybe a new boat for that cost.

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