Topographic survey costs?

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Space Cat
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Topographic survey costs?

Post by Space Cat » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:28 pm

What's the average cost for surveying 5000m^2 of forest in the southern regions? I've found an "ingeniero geomensor" with a drone and he quoted 750k for:
  • topographic plan
  • re-verifying borders with the neighbors ("subdivisión de terreno")
  • elevation measurements ("levantamiento topográfico")
  • marking the limits physically ("demarcación replanteo en terreno")
I understand that drones and engineering degrees aren't cheap but the price is a bit high for what we expected to be a fence installation. Well, an elevation map would be useful for construction anyway.

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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by 41southchile » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:34 pm

Space Cat wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:28 pm
What's the average cost for surveying 5000m^2 of a forest in the southern regions? I've found an "ingeniero geomensor" with a drone and he quoted 750k for:
  • topographic plan
  • re-verifying borders with the neighbors ("subdivisión de terreno")
  • elevation measurements ("levantamiento topográfico")
  • marking the limits physically ("demarcación replanteo en terreno")
I understand that drones and engineering degrees aren't cheap but the price is a bit high for what we expected to be a fence installation. Well, an elevation map would be useful for construction anyway.
Depends on who you get, but yeah seems a little high. But I've not done with a drone. I would of though in the neighborhood of 500k would be more likely.
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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by AnciaVagar » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:26 pm

Are you clear on exactly the specifications of the offer? Price should depend on things like the "class" of survey (degree of uncertainty or error) and contour interval and some other stuff. E.g. a cadastral survey should have very different specifications than a construction survey. Carefully read the written offer.

Do fence contractors rely on contour maps more than a physical inspection of the site in order to price a job?

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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by admin » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:57 pm

For 5,000 square meters?

9,000 pesos, for a tape measure at sodimac.

If you want to get really fancy, buy one of those hand wheels with the distance clicker on it.

If you want to do the drone thing, take your cell phone, set it to record video, and throw it up in the air a couple of times. You will probably get all 5,000 square meters in the shot.

:lol: :lol:

I am only half joking about the above.

Typically when I buy a 5,000 or even up to a couple hector property, I take the legal description in the title, my super long 100 meter measuring tape (I keep meaning to buy one of those wheels), and go out and see if I can find any obvious discrepancies in the legal description relative to the physical land. I can add, subtract, and even manage a bit of geometry, just as well as any engineer in Chile.

If I see anything too strange, relative to the legal description, that I can not explain or account for, then I might consider hiring a licensed engineer to measure the property formally because either the title description needs to be corrected or the plot map needs to be corrected. Which at that point you will need an attorney and / or licensed surveyor to make the corrections.

Even before that, if I find something strange, I typically pull the neighboring titles to see if their property descriptions will explain the discrepancies in my measurements. I like to have a good idea of what the problem is before, hiring someone else to measure.

I also have a builders level and builders laser level, if I even care what the real meters are like inside the property in 3-D. They take a bit more math to use, than say a proper transit level, but I figure they are more accurate than what the Incas or the Egyptians had to work with, at least for a small property.

I also typically don't find it worth the time to mess around with say a small discrepancy, on a small property, in areas that essentially not usable anyone. For example, a ditch bordering a property, with a 0.25 meter fuzzy zone full of blackberries or whatever, that neither I nor my neighbor would ever use. Simply not worth the time and money in most cases to mess around with trying to fix it, if it needs fixing at all. I just sign the title of that part of the property over to the wildlife, and get on with my life.

Surveyor prices are typically dependent on how hard it is to access the property. Typically we pay say 300,000 to 500,000 pesos, assuming it is relatively easy to access property. Prices go up when you start talking about big properties you need a horse, plane, boat to access remote ends of the property. For example, a 200 hectare property in the Patagonia, is going to cost you a more to have surveyed.

Now, all that said, we fix property titles for a living. I see hundreds of titles and plot maps a year, both good and bad. If I get a little loosy goosy with my own property lines when buying, I know how to fix them. I think I own three properties right now I have never bothered to measure ( 'Yep, that looks like about two hectares to that old rotting tree, I'll take it' ).

However, even for our clients, we do the title search first, then make a call about needing a survey. I would say remeasuring the property is about 80% of the time a waist of money in the south for most properties. That all depends on the area. For example, deep in the Patagonia, Chaiten or Futa south, then definitely surveying get's to be more important, as there are a bunch of historical problems with the surveys in those areas. Further north, say North of Pumalin park, typically they are worth it only if there is a good cause for it.

There are times however I would be very careful. For example, there is a river or other body of water. If the property had some sort of expropriation association with it, say a road. Things related to easements to access the property, or to allow someone else to access the property. Typically issues of that nature show in the title search first, and then you see if there is something worth going out and physically verifying.
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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by admin » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:20 pm

oh, FYI, there are two types of legal descriptions of land in Chile, and they can confuse you if you don't recognize which one is being used.

One is what I would term "inclusive" and other "exclusive".

So, an inclusive legal description will say for example something like "all the land between property line A, and property line B, in so many meters north, and property line so many meters south". In the "inclusive" description, it might not even specify the size of the property, or will say something like "approximately 20,000 square meters". So, if you have say a hill, you might actually have more land than you realize you were buying. If you find the magical door to Narnia, all that land is included. on the other hand, and it is fairly common when there is something like a river, lake, ocean, etc as one of the property lines, a body of water might have moved. You might have more land than you bought in terms of meters, you might have less. I like to affectionately call those "it is what it is" titles.

An "exclusive" description, will set out the meters contained. They are relative to your neighbors property meters, etc, and are typically cut out of a larger overall property. In those cases you typically really are getting 5,000 square meters or something very close to it.

If I get a moment, I will see if I can dig out some actual examples of the legal descriptions and post them.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how valuable the property is. If a few square meters is worth a 100 million pesos more in the middle of city, then yea probably worth having it measured. If you buy a 1000 hectares on top of mountain in the Patagonia that no one has ever climbed to measure, and a couple hectares are MIA, it still might not be worth paying to have it surveyed.
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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by Space Cat » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:46 pm

Thanks everybody, yeah, I asked around and friends not only say that it's too much but we also don't need elevation measurements despite the land being uneven here and there. The construction team will do its own research when we'll choose a spot for the house.

We started doing it in the first place because it's a dense forest and there are known cases of people around accidentally or intentionally cutting 2-5m strips from the neighbor's land by putting up a fence. Now they're fighting for it over 7 years in court with no end in sight.

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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by Space Cat » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:39 pm

Just contacted the guy who gave the topographer's contact to me and he was also baffled by the price. Said that he knows another one who does "subdivisión" for 200k which seems much more reasonable.

So, looks like it's the first time somebody tried to gringo-price us, hence my confusion. I need to get used to that because I bet it will become more frequent during the house construction. 😀

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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by nwdiver » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:45 pm

Had a property once with a river as one boundry, turns out the river changed its bed after the deed was written, 80 years ago, my 210 ha was only 178 when measured.......needless to say a hassle sorting out as three houses had been built on the other side of the river, on my land......all worked out in the end.....
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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by 41southchile » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:22 pm

I have a friend that helps Santiago investors buy and run farms in the south, his brief a couple of years ago was to find a suitable dairy farm down here, the size obviously dictates how many cows can be run, x to the hectare . So he lined up 3 properties, and made his recommendation. At the last minute they showed him a farm on a map that he had never seen or heard of , he said he would need time to check it out, but they said no it wasnt necessary and that was the one they wanted and to make it happen with the cows, they had already agreed to buy it and were signing the escritura the following week. These were all supposedly savvy investors from Santiago with loads of money and experience investing.
So after they had bought the farm, my friend bought the cows on the assumption it was a 400 hectare farm, it turns out it was only 300 which he worked out on Google earth one night and was later confirmed with a surveyor and of that 300 ha about a third of it was unusable swampland. So all of a sudden he had half the land for the amount of cows he had bought, he managed to pull it off by buying in a lot of supplement feed from other farms, but the investors weren't happy because the costs of all that bought in feed meant they obviously wernt making as much money 🙄. Of course they never admitted their role in the situation and kept blaming him. Hes still there because he likes a challenge. At least it made me feel not so bad after realizing our farm was missing 14 hectares on the property of 165 ha we purchased because I didn't get a surveyor. We also had an issue with a creek boundary, and a neighbors fence that wasnt very straight, on 3km long it's hard to tell, even a slight variation can add up.
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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by Space Cat » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:12 pm

Right now these guys are surveying our parcela’s borders:
http://surtopografia.cl/

They look really professional and are well-equipped with all these GPS tripods and other tools I have no idea about. The team works in Araucanía and Los Ríos.

The guy who we hired to clean an entrance is helping them to navigate in the forest, so he will know where the locations of the marks to get the fence up.

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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by Space Cat » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:30 pm

Aaaand here we go.

The topographers measured two times (first with GPS beacons and then with optics) just to be sure but yes, the old marking posts cut 8 meters from our parcela. A neighbor said the pre-parcellated land's owner was "puro weon" and marked everything by eye. So our border begins a bit further from the main road and (drum roll!) another neighbor put a shack on our land because of the screwed up marking post.

Probably the shack was built to get electricity to the parcela, it doesn't look like a cabaña to live in. But with the new measurements, the neighbor who put it gets her parcela further downhill, without a nice plain strip that she thought was hers.

The good news: we got more land and our construction spot is unaffected.

The bad news: a possibility of some sort of drama and going to courts.

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Re: Topographic survey costs?

Post by Space Cat » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:19 pm

My friend just suggested to buy the shack and use it ourselves for whatever needs. Brilliant idea, should also minimize the possible negativity, especially if its owner has plans to live on her parcela next to us. I'll keep this thread updated. 😄

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