How to Hire a Surveyor

  • How to Hire a Surveyor

    Posted by brittany on January 23, 2022 at 4:15 am

    First, a little background – I have a one acre lot where one side of the property has been surveyed somewhat recently by the previous property owners. My husband and I would like to put up a fence on two sides of our property, but we’re not quite sure where the property line is. We live in a suburb of Seattle and there’s been a lot development recently in the surrounding areas.

    Now my question, does anyone have any tips on how to hire a surveyor? I’ve called at least 5 or 6 and only gotten one call back. That person quoted us around $5,000 to do the acre which seemed high to me. 

    I figure everyone is probably really busy right now, but I thought maybe someone here might have an idea of how I can find more surveyors than what are shown on Google search results. Surely there’s someone in the area who would want the job of surveying our yard? Or is $5,000 actually a reasonable quote?

    brad-ott replied 2 years, 1 month ago 11 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • jitterboogie


    January 23, 2022 at 6:05 am

    The neighbor could probably provide you best insight, if they had it surveyed, you’d be way ahead there. Call 5 more, and get at least 3 discussions with a surveyor to get feedback on your project ideas.

    They aren’t ignoring you, it’s really just that busy.

    5000 dollars for survey, of a 1 acre property in Seattle might not be high enough, depending on where you live, the records and monuments that may or may not exist, the ROW and Easement issues, previous data and lack there of, there’s just so many possible variables. 

    A survey isnt like taking a car in to get the oil changed and the wipers swapped out. 

    There’s more moving parts to do it right, which is the requirement for the protection of the Public, and that the requirements held to surveyors is a public trust that you benefit from because of the process. Not unlike the same way doctors and lawyers are licensed.

    I’m not yet, and I’m sure that some of the Surveyors here will give a much better explanation and credible too as they are licensed and they have a wealth of knowledge they’re likely to share.

    My $0.02

  • holy-cow


    January 23, 2022 at 6:08 am

    Phone book?

  • murphy


    January 23, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    $5K doesn’t strike me as unreasonable in Seattle.  

    If you are in a subdivision, try contacting the firm that subdivided the lots.  Their contact information will be on your plat. You may need to look at your deed and find a reference to the subdivision plat then call the register of deeds for help with getting a copy of the plat. I’m not familiar with Washington’s title system so take that advice with a grain of salt.

    There’s a great deal of research involved when surveying a tract of land.  Any Professional Surveyor you hire should review deeds from all parcels that adjoin yours.  A PLS has to be sure that there are no utility easement crossing the proposed fence area and the actual boundary location can be clouded by the actions of others.

    Many home owners in your scenario think, “how hard can it be to find two corners and set stakes between them?”. It’s not hard at all for us to put stakes in a straight line.  The difficult part is being certain we haven’t missed something when reviewing numerous deeds and in light of the principles of boundary law and evidence discovered during the course of the survey.  

  • jph


    January 23, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    I’m curious as to what makes you think that $5000 seems high. 

    Are you basing this on other surveys you’ve had done in the past, what others have told you, or just a feeling?

  • bushaxe


    January 23, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    There are licensed surveyors from the State of Washington that frequent this site. You should wait for one of them to reply. 

  • T Ford

    T Ford

    January 23, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    Check out the “Land Surveyor’ Association of Washington” website and look under “Find a Surveyor”.  That should help.

    5000?  That depends on a lot information your post does not provide.  Check out your deed to your property and see what information the decription provides.  Good luck.



    January 23, 2022 at 4:53 pm
    Posted by: @holy-cow

    Phone book?


    I sat on a stack of those, as a kid, when dad would cut my hair…

    I hope everyone has a great day; I know I will!


    January 23, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    I’m in Puyallup; Casement Land Surveyors

    Every survey is different; depending on the history of the property. $5,000 doesn’t seem unreasonable; unless your in a platted subdivision, created within the last 10 years.


    @t-ford has a good suggestion; LSAW is our state organization, a good resource for all of your survey needs.

    Posted by: @brittany

    one side of the property has been surveyed somewhat recently by the previous property owners

    Have you tried contacting this surveyor? Did they (the person that told you it was surveyed) show you the line, or the corners? If you have difficulty answering these types of questions, there’s a good chance it wasn’t recently surveyed, or it was surveyed by someone that wasn’t licensed. 


    Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.


    I hope everyone has a great day; I know I will!
  • brad-ott


    January 23, 2022 at 5:31 pm
    Posted by: @dougie

    I’m in Puyallup; Casement Land Surveyors

    An excellent point.

  • mike-marks


    January 23, 2022 at 7:29 pm
    Posted by: @dougie

    $5,000 doesn’t seem unreasonable; unless your in a platted subdivision, created within the last 10 years.

    Good point, except if it’s a Seattle suburb subdivision, created within the last 30 years maybe $5,000 is high.  Assuming it’s a simple rectangular lot 4 hours of fieldwork @ $250/hr, $1,000 of office work and another $1,500 if a monument is missing for a basic ROS filing  would add up to $3,500; $2,000 if all monuments are recovered.

    I suspect you didn’t give the surveyor much info besides 1 acre lot need one (two?) line(s) located.  He has to shotgun a worst case estimate to protect himself.  Help him out by bird-dogging your neighbor for his/her survey, ask the other neighbor what he knows, poke around with eyeball and shovel at where you think the corners should be and tell him if you find a hunk of rebar with a brass tag wired to it with some numbers on it etc., your deed, Title Report, a copy of the subdivision map for him, the assessor’s map and a Google Earth snippet showing your lot’s terrain/brush/tree canopy situation.  It’ll convince him you’re serious and not just a window shopper.  Email works better than a phone call I think these days or if you’re not computer savvy a snail mail package.

    I may get some flack but if you find all the original monuments, it’s a line of sight between them situation, and a brief review of the record(s) you supply shows no obvious discrepancies, I might advise you don’t need a survey and have the fence contractor determine its location, with the caveat that you’re assuming some risk by  not surveying first.  In a perfect world if all the original monuments are in place, there’s no occupation issues, your neighbors are amicable and any easements you may interfere with are clearly shown in the record; an owner may not need the services of a surveyor when making improvements.  A radical thought eh?

    BTW I’m licensed in Washington State and the above is not a professional opinion and I assume no liability by posting this.  Also, have you approached your neighbors concerning them going halvsies  on the fence if it’s more than just a 3-strand goat fence?  My Dad and his neighbor did just that on a handshake as both parcels were improved by its construction.

  • Mark Mayer

    Mark Mayer

    January 23, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    I’m in the Portland area but am also licensed in Washington. $5k may be above average, but it isn’t out of range. Every neighborhood is different. An acre might be slam dunk easy in one spot and a solid week of work in another.  

    Have you talked to the surveyor who did your neighbor’s survey? That is likely to be your best shot and quick and cheap. 

    Bottom line – the market everywhere is hot right now and Seattle is one of the hottest. Surveyors are super busy. If you can wait until the inevitable downturn comes you will likely get a better price.  

  • brad-ott


    January 23, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    I would mot give this level of discussion without at least a specific address of the site.

Log in to reply.