Parent Q&A

Need a surveyor to help define property lines Oct 6, 2021 (6 responses below)
Need Someone to do a Site Survey Jun 20, 2019 (2 responses below)
  • Hey folks,

    I've been having a hell of a time trying to find a surveyor who can help us figure out the property lines for our house in Temescal.

    There's been a lot of questions raised about exactly where one fence in particular should be, since it was removed at some point in the 80s (?), then put back in in 2019 in a rush. We're now replacing a part of this same fence and I figure a good chance for us to get a professional opinion to sort fact from fiction.

    Anyone worked with someone great recently who might be able to help?

    It seems like half the folks I talk to won't travel this far, and the other half are recently retired. :|

    We used Bay Area Land Surveying for our house remodel.

    They are very good and thorough.  We used them because our architect recommended them, but we are glad we did.  We found out that our neighbor had built onto our property and when we sent them the survey to ask them to move/destroy their structures.  They initially refused until they realized the surveyor is very reputable especially in the hills where property lines can be blurred with time and their work has stood up to numerous legal disputes.  It the reason many municipalities in the area also use them.  The big issue is they tend to be backed up … for months.  If you can wait to do your project they would be my recommendation.

    We used Moran Engineering in Berkeley. Very competent, not cheap though.

    They might be busy, but we've used:

    Moran Engineering Inc.

  • Need Someone to do a Site Survey

    (2 replies)

    We are planning to do significant improvements to our landscaping.  Our lot is on a slope, with several terraces.  Designers we have talked to have said we really need a site survey done first, so they know exactly what they have to work with -- height of hills, size of terraces, etc.  Can anybody recommend someone?  Thanks!

    I can recommend Paul Webb he is very experienced in Berkeley surveys and is also a Berkeley High alumni. He explains the process well which I really appreciated and  also takes the time to get to know you. Phone number (510) 548-3201.

    We have used Bates & Bailey for a large property and were very satisfied.  The work they did has been accurate enough to use for both large and small projects.  n.b., we had to wait a long time to get the survey work done.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Advice & Reviews Related Pages

2010 - 2014 Recommendations

[no new reviews as of Feb 2014]

2005 - 2009 Recommendations

Reasonably priced but respected surveyor

July 2009

Looking for recommendations for reasonably priced but respected surveyors. Property is in Kensington. Property is about 5,000 sq ft. Thank you in advance

Our architect recommended Andres Deak (''Deek'') (510) 865-4289 when we needed a survey in order to apply for a variance in Oakland. I didn't shop around, so I can't tell you whether he's reasonably priced or not. Bill

We used Andreas Deak to survey our property lines earlier this year. He was polite, prompt, and was able to fit us in quickly. We needed super fast service to get through an inspection and he was so helpful in our pinch. He was also MUCH MORE reasonably priced than any of the other surveyors I phoned. I got 4 quotes and his was by far the best price. Since we were already spending so much money on construction and city fees this was important. his number: 510-865-4289 lisa s

Dear Folks- I have used Andreas Deak with great satisfaction. He is excellent but not expensive- the little secret of many local realtors. He really knows the issues of these old houses and wierd lot lines! Susan M

Need surveyor for property line

June 2009

Our neighbors would like to replace an existing fence and we would like to make one continuing fence down that same side, but are not sure about the property line. Can anyone recommend a surveying company/person? Also, what is the current rate for a surveyor? I've been told in the past, it can cost $2-$3,000. Is this true? Thanks. Anon

We had a property survey done in March by Andreas (Andrew) Deak. My husband met him while he was doing another survey in our neighborhood, and we had also seen a couple older positive reviews in BPN. He did a great job, and the whole cost was only about $600 to survey our entire property. He's in Alameda, and you can reach him at (510) 865-4289. Tanya

It is true that there are few surveyors who will do limited services inexpensively. Andreas Deak is the only one I know of, but am not sure he will take a cold call from a stranger. He is always very busy. You will have to be patient to fit into his schedule. His phone is 865-4289. Andus

How to find a surveyor

August 2008

The best resource for finding a Surveyor is the California Land Surveyors Association - there you will find qualified professionals for your survey needs. Remember to get a contract (it's required by law) stating the price and the scope of services offered. Make sure they are insured, especially Work man's Comp so that you are not liable for their employees while they are on your property. Ross K., Professional Land Surveyor

Need a land surveyor for Flood Elevation Certificate

March 2008

Our town is requiring we get a Flood Elevation Certificate from a land surveyor before we can proceed with our kitchen remodel. I have called four land surveyors and none want the job---apparently it is a lot of paperwork. One said the cost (b/t 1500-2k) was not worth the time. I have no idea what is involved, but this is holding up our project so I would really like to find a surveyor who can do this for us. Anyone have any recommendations? We live in Marin. Thank you!

This is a very specialized kind of topographic survey. In fact, I've never heard of this as a local requirement, but in Marin County...anything goes. I'd suggest calling Jeff Haltiner at Phillip Williams and Associates. He maybe can recommend a firm or two who are highly experienced in this sort of work. Another possible source of recommended surveyor is Wetlands Research Associates. Ray F.

I've used Moran Engineering (Jeffrey Black, 510-848-1930) several times and got great service. This time of year, I suspect that there will be a wait, though. Bill E.

Survey as first step in home addition?

April 2007

We are just beginning the process of planning an addition to our house (adding a family room, bath, and remodeling the existing kitchen), or at least, exploring whether such an addition is feasible for us. We have been told that the first step before going to an architect is having a survey of our property done (or is it called a site plan?) Does anyone have recommendations of local surveyors? What does something like this cost? Thanks in advance. Amy

We are mid-construction on a small addition to our home. Having just gone through the planning process from start to finish, I would start by talking to an architect. They should research the codes for your area to determine what the setback requirements are (how far from your neighbor's house or the curb you need to be). Depending on what you are trying to do, the city planning dept. may request that you do a survey. We didn't have to. If you have the time, you can go down to the planning dept. and look at the monument map for your property. This will tell you the exact dimensions of your property and how far from the curb your line is. But, as a first step, I would talk to an architect or designer. Brightstar

My general contractor hubbie says go straight to the city planning dept. A survey will cost $1-3K, and it might not be necessary if setbacks and property lines are pretty clear. City Planning can tell you if a survey is necessary. burr

You will need a survey if you are adding on to your house. But I don't think you need one *before* you go to an architect. We are in the process of adding on to our house, and it was our architect who told us to get the survey and recommended the company he uses a lot. They were horrible about getting back to us when we called, but then the architect called and gave them hell, after which we got great service. So, I won't heartily recommend our surveyors (Gilbert Fitch & Associates), but I would recommend working through your architect with one. It came in handy to have that back up. As for price, ours was around $3,300. I don't know whether the size of the lot affects the price, but we have a one-third acre lot.

In the end, I wouldn't shell out the money until you know for sure that you are going forward with the addition and are already working with an architect.

2004 & Earlier

Reasonably-priced surveyor?

April 2004

Can anyone recommend a licensed, reasonably-priced surveyor? We recently bought a home and want to know the where the property lines are. Thanks. Anon

While working in an architects office I worked with Andreas Deak (510) 865-4289 for lot surveying and found him careful and economical. Anwyl

Help determining property lines

March 2004

We live on a piece of property that is surrounded by empty lots. We'd like to do some landscaping but there are so many different markers on our property that we are not sure where our property lines really are. We contacted a surveying company and they want $3500 to come survey the lot and set markers. My questions are, do we need a surveying company to determine our lot lines? If so, is $3500 a reasonable fee for this service? Thanks! Melissa

Yes, you need a surveyor if you want to accurately determine the property lines. That's what surveyors do! And the price you were quoted sounds very reasonable to me, though I admit my experience hiring surveyors is mostly with respect to commercial properties. You will get the best price if you can find someone who has surveyed your property, or the neighboring property, previously, so it would be worth your while to figure out who placed the stakes and markings that you say are already there.

If, however, you want to avoid the cost of the survey altogether, you may be able to simply come to an informal agreement with the owners of the neighboring property. Or, if you don't know who owns the other property, you could use your own best guess and landscape as you like. You would just be taking a risk that the neighbors will later make you tear out your work if it turns out you've encroached; this would most likely happen if and when the other property is developed. Therefore, if you go that route, I would suggest putting only relatively transient stuff (flowers, grass) rather than planting large trees or building decks in areas where you have any doubt. Holly