How Do I Know Where My Property Lines Are?

How Do I Know Where My Property Lines Are
by John Carlucci - October 11, 2022

If you are familiar with the layout of your property and its perimeter lines, you will be able to determine where it is permissible to build structures on your lands, such as driveways, garages, pools, and fences.

In addition to avoiding conducting late-night band practices in your garage, one of the greatest ways to minimize disagreements with your neighbors is to be aware of the position of the property boundaries that divide your land.

Property lines are the clearly delineated locations at which the land owned by one owner stops and the land owned by the adjoining owner begins. The boundary lines of a property are used by the owner to decide the legal placement of amenities on the land, such as fences, pools, garages, and roadways. The erection of a structure wholly or partially on the property of another individual might give rise to disagreements and, sometimes, legal action.

It's not hard to figure out where the boundaries of your property are located:

Check Your Deed

The deed to your property will provide a written description of the physical boundaries of your land. In order to identify the position of your limits, you should be able to measure from the stated landmarks if you have followed the description correctly. Just a heads up: the description could rely on the position of a tree that does not exist anymore or a watercourse that has dried up after it was written.

In the event that the most recent deed for your property does not contain the aforementioned description, you will be directed to an earlier deed for the property. Keep going back through the references until you discover a deed that has a description of the boundaries of the property.

Review Your Property Survey

There is a good chance that when you purchased your house, you were given a map depicting the dimensions and boundaries of your land, which is also referred to as a plat. In the event that it was not included with the documentation that you submitted, check with the office of the local clerk or surveyor. There is a possibility that some of these maps can be accessed online, while others will be provided in the form of hard copies or microfiche copies. Even maps of properties that are next to one another might be helpful if they highlight the boundaries of common property.

If you live in a subdivision or neighborhood in which many homes look to have been built around the same time, it is possible that the legal description of your property on the deed will be rather ambiguous and read something along the lines of "Parcel 17, New Castle Development" or "Lot 7, Second Addition." This is evidence that surveyors constructed many lots all at once and then produced one map showing where all of them were situated. It is likely that the master plan will be located in the public records.

Hire a Surveyor

In the event that you do not own a survey or plat, or at the very least, one that is in any way current or particular, you may decide to contract the services of a professional to carry out a land survey for you. The surveyor can measure and chart the land, and they will often also place stakes at the property's four corners to denote their locations.

Your location and the scope of the project both play a role in determining how much it will cost to hire a professional surveyor. If you end up deciding to hire a surveyor, talk to your loved ones and close friends for recommendations. You are going to want to talk about your requirements with a number of possible surveyors, and then pick the one who has the most experience and with whom you feel the most at ease working.

The surveyor has to have a license issued by your state and should have professional liability insurance. This insurance will protect you in the event that the surveyor makes an error while doing the survey. Inquire with the surveyor about whether or not they would be prepared to walk the property boundaries with you after the survey is finished. Ask the surveyor about the equipment they use as well; developments like GPS and CAD, for example, make it feasible to conduct more accurate surveys than were previously possible. You are obligated to explain to your surveyor not only why you desire a survey but also the specific services you are looking for. This will guarantee that the cost estimate that you receive is as accurate as it can possibly be.

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