As a property owner, you know you have a few responsibilities. Mow the lawn, keep the bushes manicured and the house in good shape.
What happens when your neighbor decides to build a big, ugly shed in the backyard? Or builds a pool filled with loud screaming kids all summer?
Worse yet, what happens when you think that shed or pool is actually built on your property? This is when you need to know for certain where the property lines for your lot fall.
The only way to protect your rights and property is to know where the lines are that separate the two pieces of property. A property line survey will tell you where your property ends and the neighbor’s property begins.
Learn about property surveys, surveyors and how to find the property lines for your property.
What Is a Property Survey?
A property survey helps confirm the lines that divide two pieces of property. It tells you, as the landowner, what you own and what belongs to the neighbors around you.
If you are purchasing a home, the mortgage company often requires a property survey to be certain of the value of the land.
Other reasons you might need a property survey include putting on an addition, building a fence, a shed or a pool. You want to be certain the improvements you are making are actually on your own property.
Why Do You Need a Property Survey?
Believe it or not, homes have actually been built so they overlap property lines.
One builder didn’t use the correct property lines. The house was built on community property in the neighborhood. In order to sell the house, the homeowner had to buy the community property from the neighborhood association.
How could this happen? It is more common than you might imagine. If builders don’t use surveyors and “guess” at the property lines, big mistakes can happen.
If you are investing in real estate, you need a property survey to make sure you are getting what you think you are getting. Land value gets established based on the chunk of property. You want to be certain to get what you pay for.
If you are buying property hoping to build, or add onto a house, you need to know the location of the property lines for building purposes.
How Do I Find Property Lines?
When open land gets developed, property lines get drawn. Most neighborhoods were once fields or farmland. However far back, when the land was developed for building a surveyor measured out plots of land and drew them on paper.
Property lines were established. This is often done using landmarks, sometimes like bodies of water or large trees. Plat maps show how lot division happens.
Often when a property survey was originally drawn, assigned plot or parcel numbers get assigned on the original property map. If these are not part of your mortgage paperwork, the local assessor should have the documents.
The Property Survey
The property survey is an official document that defines the piece of property. If the land got divided long ago, sometimes it is necessary to trace back through multiple surveys to get to the original lines of the property.
The property survey not only matters for the selling of the property, but it also matters for development too. Municipalities will often have restrictions about how close you can build to a lot line.
There might be restrictions for where you can place a fence or how far a barn or shed must be away from the property line. Adding to a home or building a second structure on your property will require permits.
The permit is issued once the property survey shows the new building will, in fact, fall inside the property lines and follow local laws for building.
Hire a Professional
What should you do if you don’t have a property map showing the lines of your property? You hire a surveyor who can come to measure the property and establish the property lines for you.
A surveyor should be licensed in the state the survey is needed. You should expect the surveyor to carry professional liability insurance. This protects all the parties involved in case there is a mistake made.
The cost of hiring a professional surveyor will depend on the area in which you live. It will also depend on the complexity of the survey needed. If there are land features that make the survey more complicated, that adds to the cost of the job.
Simpler surveys can take under an hour. More complicated surveys that require some investigating, digging and extensive measuring which can last for several hours for a neighborhood plot of land.
What Does a Surveyor Do?
A surveyor will come to the property. They will use whatever documents you have or the assessor’s office has and work from those.
Sometimes when the land was first surveyed, metal stakes could have been buried in the ground at the corners of the property.
Professional surveyors will use these and other available landmarks to measure the property so they can stake out the land boundaries.
It is always a good idea to be present, if possible when the surveyor is doing the measuring. It can help you to see how they find the property lines and where the lines run.
When You Need a Property Line Survey
Knowing where your property lines fall is important as a homeowner or landowner. You want to be sure you keep the land you paid for. A property line survey helps to provide you with valuable information about the boundaries of your property.
Contact us today to connect with our professional surveyors. They are ready to work for you.