Land Survey vs. Plot Plan: What Home Buyers Need to Know

Apr 25, 2023Buying Basics, First-Time Home Buyers, Uncategorized


When you’re buying a home, there are a lot of terms and documents that can be confusing. Two of the most common are “plot plan” and “land survey.” What’s the difference between the two, and which one do you need? The following is a basic overview of a land survey vs. plot plan.

What is a Plot Plan?

A mortgage plot plan is a simplified version of a land survey typically required by lenders as part of the approval process. It shows the property’s boundaries, any structures on the property, and its location in the surrounding area. Mortgage plot plans are typically ordered by title companies, lenders, or real estate lawyers, and they are not as detailed as land surveys.

Besides home buyers and sellers, lenders, architects, builders, and contractors might order a plot plan.

What is a Land Survey?

A land survey is a more comprehensive and detailed mapping of a property that is typically conducted by a licensed land surveyor. A land survey involves using specialized instruments and techniques to measure and precisely map the property’s physical features, including its boundaries, structures, dimensions, and topography. Land surveys are typically used for a variety of purposes, such as the following:

  • Help you resolve boundary disputes with your neighbors.
  • Help you plan and build additions or other improvements to your home, such as a fence.
  • Help determine if you have enough space for a septic system or other utilities.
  • Help you obtain a building permit for a variety of home improvement projects.

Land Survey vs. Plot Plan

In most cases, you will only need a mortgage plot plan if you buy a home with a mortgage. If you are paying cash for your home, or if you can get a mortgage without a mortgage plot plan, then you may not need one. Sometimes, you may need a land survey when buying a home with a mortgage.

If you are unsure whether you need a mortgage plot plan or a land survey, you should speak to your lender or a real estate attorney. They will advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation.

The Cost of a Land Survey or Plot Plan

The cost of a plot plan may vary depending on the size and complexity of the property. Generally, you can expect to pay between $150 and $500 for a mortgage plot plan.

While the simplified mortgage plot plan is typically sufficient for obtaining a mortgage loan, a more comprehensive land survey may be necessary for other purposes, such as constructing a new home, installing a fence, or resolving boundary disputes.

The cost of a land survey by a licensed surveyor can vary depending on the survey type, property size, and complexity. The average land survey cost is between $1,000 and $5,000. The following are some factors that may impact the price.

  • Size of the property: The size of the property is a significant factor in the cost of a land survey. Larger parcels will typically require more time and effort to survey, resulting in a higher price.
  • Complexity of the survey: The survey complexity can also affect the cost. For example, a survey requiring the surveyor to access difficult-to-reach areas or involving specialized equipment will typically cost more than a more straightforward survey.
  • Location of the property: The location of the property can also affect the cost of a land survey. Surveys in urban areas are typically more expensive than surveys in rural areas.


RICH ROSA co-founded BUYERS BROKERS ONLY, LLC, an EXCLUSIVE BUYER AGENT real estate brokerage helping home-buying consumers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.


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