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 a residential lot; cost is proportional to the time needed to complete a survey but is not necessarily proportional to parcel size.
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.
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.
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.
A level parcel of urban land is easier to survey than a mountainous rural parcel
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.
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.
Existing evidence 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.
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.
In the summer, thicker foliage may result in more field labor; winter weather may slow travel as well as conceal critical field evidence.
Landowners should have a good understanding of the costs and documents required prior to beginning the survey. Your land surveyor can assist you in understanding these requirements.
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.