How to Find Property Lines for Your Land

What Are Property Strains?

Property traces, or boundary traces, outline the factors the place properties start and finish. These boundaries are used when putting in options resembling fences, swimming pools and residential additions. Some property traces have bodily markers, whereas others are invisible.

It’s vital to know {that a} property line within the entrance of the home determines the measured distance of the land, generally known as the frontage. In distinction, the property boundaries on the aspect of your own home are generally known as sidelines. Understanding this data is useful when property owners are making potential enhancements to their dwelling, resembling including a fence or making main landscaping selections.


Go to the county recorder’s workplace or the assessor’s workplace. Ask what maps can be found for public viewing that embody your neighborhood and road. Request a replica of any maps that present clear dimensions of your property traces. Use the maps for reference when measuring your property’s whole boundary line on either side.


Why do I must know the place my property traces are?

As we stated earlier than, figuring out the place your property line is can have an unlimited affect on dwelling gross sales, renovations, and repairs. For instance, if you wish to set up a fence, your native zoning ordinances would possibly require an 8-inch distance of your fence from the property line. Different ordinances could dictate duty for sidewalks and tree removing. Lastly, the place a property line falls could also be essential for legal responsibility points, resembling slips and falls. In the event you plan on constructing or renovating your house, figuring out the place the property line is might be essential.

Why is it Vital to Discover Property Strains?

Property traces are vital since they clear up any confusion or arguments relating to the place somebody’s property begins and the place one other individual’s property ends. Think about, for instance, that you simply wish to plant a brand new row of hedges in your yard to extend privateness and to vary the aesthetic of your yard area. Nevertheless, you don’t have any fences between your property and your neighbor’s. How are you going to know the place it is best to plant your hedges with out technically invading your neighbor’s area? The reply, in fact, is property traces. By discovering the property traces, you’ll be able to plant the hedges in a selected spot or row and keep away from any authorized hassle later down the highway.

There are many different examples in addition to this, as effectively. For instance, if you already know the property traces for a given piece of property, you’ll know precisely what land you buy while you purchase a home. Understanding property traces permits you to share the data along with your mortgage lender or title insurance coverage firm. These will help you get sooner and much more enticing mortgage or insurance coverage phrases. As you’ll be able to see, it’s vital to search out property traces for extra causes than only one. Fortunately, there are a number of methods through which you are able to do so!

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Have Extra Questions About Property Boundaries? Ask a Lawyer

Property disputes can get heated rapidly. The easiest way to maintain a dispute from getting out of hand is to grasp your property rights. Contact a talented real estate lawyer close to you to debate your scenario and find out how they will help resolve your matter decisively.

Can My Neighbor Construct A Fence On The Property Line?

In case your neighbor is considering constructing a fence on the property line between your two properties, they have to concentrate on all mandatory legal guidelines and rules. The place a neighbor can construct a fence on the property is dependent upon jurisdiction legal guidelines and any deed restrictions on both of your properties. As a basic rule, legal guidelines sometimes state {that a} fence have to be constructed at the least 2 – 8 inches from a neighbor’s property line. A fence constructed instantly on a property line could end in a joint duty of the fence between the neighbors, together with upkeep and prices. Simply as a precaution, when you or a neighbor are considering of constructing a fence on or close to one among your house’s property traces, ensure that to seek the advice of your real estate agent on any guidelines and rules.

Legally Decide Property Strains

Rent a Licensed Land Surveyor

To get an correct dedication of property traces that may stand as much as authorized scrutiny, you’ll want to rent knowledgeable surveyor. (Word that the majority states require licensure of land surveyors; test your state’s necessities.)

Whereas knowledgeable survey could value a a couple of to a number of hundred {dollars}—or extra, relying on property location, measurement, form, and terrain—it’s cash effectively spent since property disputes value much more in time, potential hefty authorized charges, and neighborly goodwill.

What precisely is a property line?

Property traces are the legal boundaries to your property. They may inform you precisely the place your property begins and ends, formally, so there isn’t a query.

Typically property traces are very apparent. For instance, your yard would possibly finish in a lake, so there isn’t a query as to the place it ends. However different instances, as an illustration, in case your yard runs into your neighbor’s yard with none change in landscaping or elevation, they could be unimaginable to find out with out an official property survey.

Can My Neighbor and I Merely Agree The place the Boundary Ought to Be?

In the event you and your neighbor have agreed the place you each need the property boundaries to be, then you may make a "lot line settlement," additionally known as a "lot line adjustment settlement." These agreements are official and binding by making and signing deeds that describe intimately the agreed upon property line.

Earlier than you proceed, test your native zoning and subdivision ordinances to verify your new lot shall be in compliance. Some communities require a lot of a sure measurement earlier than they permit animals or additional buildings. Even a small lack of property might create an unanticipated drawback. Chances are you’ll want to look earlier than your city’s planning fee or governing board to get your lot line adjustment authorized.

In the event you or your neighbor are nonetheless each paying off mortgages in your properties, you’ll most likely must seek the advice of with an legal professional earlier than making so much line settlement. Your mortgage is signed with an outline of the property. In the event you execute a deed with out the financial institution’s approval, you might be in breach of your mortgage. You will want a mortgage modification. You may be accountable for any prices related to the modification.

After signing the deed, you will have to file it with the county land data workplace. This workplace, which is usually identified by names such because the County Recorder’s Workplace, or the Land Registry Workplace, will file the deed and make it out there for public viewing upon request. This provides discover to any future purchaser of the land of the brand new, agreed-upon property boundaries.

Closing Ideas

Earlier than constructing a brand new construction or putting in a driveway, it’s very important to have knowledgeable come out and mark the property traces. Property pins might be moved over time, and in some instances, the boundary could lengthen previous a property boundary marker if a earlier proprietor purchased or bought land to a neighbor. In a finest case situation, you could have extra land than you thought you probably did. In a worst case situation, you could have poured the driveway on the neighbors’ land, they usually could make you tear it out.

Discover Property Strains On-line

Every single day, extra know-how is on the market on-line, and property maps aren’t any exception. Many counties are actually digitizing their property data and importing them to interactive websites that enable residents to entry them from their very own computer systems. These websites make use of a geographical data system (GIS) to be able to pull up so much or parcel of land utilizing an tackle or an proprietor’s title. Look in your county’s web site after which go searching for phrases like “Property Search” or “Parcel Search” to entry the GIS map.

Different on-line GIS websites might also be capable of assist, resembling AcreValue, a favourite instrument of actual property brokers for locating property traces. The traces will provide you with a basic concept of the place your property boundaries lie, however they can’t pinpoint the precise property markers for you. For that, you’ll want to make use of one of many different strategies.

What Are Boundary Line Agreements?

With out getting too technical, boundary line agreements are particular authorized contracts written between neighbors. They’re used to settle any disputes over current property traces are boundaries. Whereas the precise contract necessities and inclusions will fluctuate relying in your state, they’re all the time used to make sure two or extra property house owners agree on how property traces are used and divided. Word that boundary line agreements aren’t the very same factor as boundary line changes. Boundary line changes, as a substitute, are created when property house owners must trade land. This includes redefining or redrawing property traces between them. In some instances, however not all, this may increasingly contain cash. For instance, when you and your neighbor wish to commerce bits of property in your backyards for various parts, you’ll be able to draw up a boundary line adjustment to make this authorized.

So, what do you employ boundary line agreements for? One frequent instance happens when one neighbor by chance encroaches on one other individual’s property by planting hedges or constructing a construction. This may increasingly happen if the unique property proprietor does a land survey and discovers the error. In that case, the property proprietor must create a boundary line settlement with their neighbor in the event that they wish to retain the title to that property piece. The ensuing boundary line settlement will embody an acknowledgment by your neighbor that they by chance encroached on the property, in addition to an acknowledgment in your finish that you’ll let the construction stay standing. On this means, the construction builder can maintain management of the constructing when you retain management of the particular land it’s constructed on.

What sources can be found to assist me decide property traces?

There are various sources that may aid you discover your property traces totally free:

Native zoning and surveyors’ places of work

These places of work typically have the precise survey maps for numerous properties, from which you’ll measure out your property by hand with a easy measuring tape. Many states even have interactive maps that you should utilize, resembling thisMassachusetts Interactive Property Map. These instruments make it straightforward so that you can discover your property line and resolve if you’ll want to herald knowledgeable surveyor or not.

Cellular apps

Apps resembling Landglide and Boundaryviewer use a mixture of GPS and on-line data that will help you discover your property traces on-line.

Internet based mostly websites and apps

Google Maps has a characteristic that shows property traces based mostly on the date that you simply enter. That is a part of the Google Earth and Google Maps performance and is a free service.

Why Are Property Strains Vital?

Property traces are vital as a result of they remove grey areas with regards to property possession. Due to property traces, you already know precisely what land you’re getting while you start the method of buying a house. Your mortgage lender and/or title insurance company might want to confirm the property traces that will help you qualify for a mortgage.

Understanding your property traces can also be useful when beginning a home improvement or main landscaping undertaking. You’ll wish to have an understanding of the place your yard ends and a neighbor’s begins. That means, you received’t find yourself by chance constructing a brand new addition on your house or placing up a fence round your yard that encroaches in your neighbor’s property.

Lastly, being conscious of your property traces exhibits that you simply’re respectful of the neighboring premises. Understanding the boundaries of your property will help you keep away from disagreements along with your surrounding neighbors, particularly ones that would result in authorized disputes.

How To Discover Your Property Stake

It’s rather more frequent for the stakes to be a number of inches underground. Not so deep that they match up with the frost line, however deep sufficient that some digging is necessary. In that case, your finest guess is to purchase or hire a metal detector (cheap ones value lower than $50). While you’ve discovered your goal, dig all the way down to make it possible for it’s actually a stake and never only a misplaced quarter.

After you could have discovered the iron property stake, exchange the grime and hammer in a small piece of wooden as a visual marker.

Word: If finding your property traces exactly—in a authorized dispute, for instance—we strongly suggest that you simply rent knowledgeable surveyor.

How Property Strains Are Decided

We all know that fences don’t line each landowner’s plot, so how will we outline the place one yard ends and the neighbor’s begins? It’s rather less than exact, however to assist make issues extra standardized, almost the complete nation has adopted a protocol known as the Rectangular Survey System (RSS).

Land surveyors use RSS to develop a system of rectangular parcels of land that may be added and measured to create an overview of the property. RSS works by dividing all land parcels into roughly 1-mile sections. The phrase “roughly” is used as a result of these sections are rarely excellent.

Roads, creeks, rivers, lakes and tree traces typically get in the way in which of the right mile. The traces are then separated into two sorts: meridians and baselines. Meridians run north and south, baselines run east and west.

The RSS system was first utilized in japanese Ohio in an space known as the Seven Ranges. The epicenter of the system is on the Ohio – Pennsylvania border close to Pittsburgh. County traces usually comply with this survey, and the creation of it within the Midwest explains why many counties are rectangular in form. This technique has since develop into the nationwide customary of how we calculate property traces immediately.

Property Strains And Residence Value determinations

So, what does this imply for dwelling appraisers? Whereas conducting an appraisal of a given property, the appraiser will go to the county assessor’s workplace within the native municipality to accumulate property data. They may take a look at the parcel ID and authorized description to confirm the fundamental description of the property location.

If the property is in a subdivision, then it can almost certainly be measured by RSS, and property traces can typically be recognized on the related plat map. If the appraiser can not confirm the property boundaries, they should request a replica of a survey that must be carried out by a licensed surveyor.

Rent a surveyor

In the event you don’t have a survey or plat — or at the least not one which’s in any respect up-to-date or particular — you might select to rent knowledgeable to do a land survey. The surveyor can measure and map the property and can usually additionally mark the corners of the property with stakes.

The price of hiring knowledgeable surveyor is dependent upon your location and undertaking. In the event you resolve to rent a surveyor, ask family and friends members for referrals. You’ll wish to meet with a number of potential surveyors to debate your wants and select one who’s skilled and with whom you’re feeling comfy working.

The surveyor must be licensed along with your state and may carry skilled legal responsibility insurance coverage, which might cowl you if the surveyor makes a mistake within the survey. Ask if the surveyor is keen to stroll your property traces with you following the completion of the survey. Additionally ask concerning the gear the surveyor makes use of; GPS and CAD, as an illustration, enable for extra exact surveys than these potential earlier than these improvements. You need to additionally inform your surveyor why you want a survey and precisely which companies you require. It will make sure that the price estimate you obtain is as correct as potential.