Doing small boundary survey and I agreed to have it paid from the closing of sale of the property. Client (seller) asks me to send him invoice so he could submit it to the title company. Normal so far. Buyer had called and asked some questions and told me he was paying half the survey and wanted to know the cost which I told him. So I emailed the invoice. Get a call from the title company and the buyer at their closing. Buyer wanted to know why the invoice was for almost twice the amount. I told him it wasn't. So I forwarded the original email and invoice to them. Interesting eh? Midnight cut and paste I suppose!
Another first for me. Wonder if I would have received the extra money it the altered invoice was accepted. How was that going to work out for the seller's advantage?
Paid at closing seems risky. What if there is no closing? Does your contract still require the owner who didn't sell to pay you?
I think it's fairly common to be paid at closing. Back in the day when I did more residential stuff, I was paid at closing a lot. Sometimes you had to carry the invoice for quite a few months, but not a big deal. Usually small amounts of money.
That being said, it's considered highly unethical (and in some jurisdictions illegal) to require payment only if the sale goes through. But nobody here is doing that anyway. In cases where a property didn't close, I required payment from whoever ordered the survey--real estate agent, bank, owner, etc. They always came through.
Payment at closing is a serious conflict of interest for a surveyor whose payment is dependent upon that closing. More surveyors around here have been played for the fools they are by agreeing to those terms.
Just say no.
I'll allow a few to go this way each year. Sometimes its a month or two later than everyone expected. Not too bad if you are working with more than just the seller or buyer. Talking with the others (lender, realtor, title co.) helps greatly.