How To Find A Property Line
There are many reasons why you might need to know your property lines. You probably have a general idea as to where your property line is, but sometimes you require something more exact. Whether a tree has fallen and caused some damage, or you want to build a fence along the border of your property, you need to know your precise property boundaries. But how do you find out your exact property lines?
The best way to find property lines is to hire a licensed land surveyor. Land surveyors review all applicable land-owning documents and legal papers to determine your exact property lines. These assessments, however, cost between $300 and $1,000 depending on their scope. You can also check your deed, consult your mortgage company, locate a property line map or markers, and even use an app to find property lines.
There are several ways to find property lines. Some are free and some costs hundreds of dollars. The different methods also have varying degrees of accuracy. Before you pick a method at random, read the article below to find out which of these top 9 ways to find property lines is best for your needs.
Nine Ways To Find Your Property Lines
1. Have A Land Surveyor Determine Property Lines
The most official and accurate way to find a property line is to hire a land surveyor to help define your property lines. Land surveyors are licensed professionals who have extensive experience making declarative decisions on property boundaries.
They will locate and check all important legal and historical documents. Then they will cross-reference them with any easements, land divisions, and other relevant developments that could affect the property line. In the end, this official assessment is a great way to get an exact understanding of your property lines.
Keep in mind that while this is the most accurate approach to finding property lines, it is also pricey. The minimum cost to hire a land surveyor is usually a bit more than $300. For more extensive and elaborate projects, the charges can range upwards of $1,000.
2. Use An App To Help Find Your Property Line
It shouldn’t come as a shock that with modern technology there is now even an app to find rather accurate property lines. Landgrid and LandGlide are two very popular apps that you can use to help determine property lines. But there are several other apps and websites out there you can use to help define your property boundaries.
These apps all use historical and legal information as well as GPS technology. While they are not necessarily legally bounding borders, these apps are great at determining property lines within a few feet of accuracy.
LandGlide, for example, has records on more than 95% of the United States, with information on more than 3,000 counties. The odds are you can get information on your property using this app or another similar one.
3. Inspect the “Plat” Or Property Line Map
Most homes, especially in modern times, come with a distinct property line map or a “plat.” A plat shows detailed borders on a given piece of land, home, or neighborhood.
When you are looking to buy a home, you are likely shown a plat or property line map. Defined properties determine how large your lot is, and affect the home’s value. These maps are effective tools for determining your property’s borders.
4. Check The Deed For Your Property
One great place to look to get a better understanding of a property line is your property deed. The property deed should have tax data on your land. This data should include property boundary information. After all, it is important to define the area in which you own and are taxed.
If you can’t locate your deed, you can get a copy online. You can also visit your local county recorder’s office to obtain a copy for free as well. Keep in mind, however, that deeds can be decades old (or older). This means the deed might reference landmarks like trees or boulders to define property lines, and these landmarks may no longer exist.
5. Use A Tape Measure To Confirm Property Lines
You can also use some old-school techniques to get fairly accurate property line information. One of these tried-and-true methods to determine property lines is to use landmarks and a tape measure.
Many land deeds and property line information is dictated by using landmarks like trees or house borders. Using a tape measure from these landmarks is an effective way to find property lines. This also serves as a good secondary way to cross-reference a property line with other information.
6. Get The Property Survey From Your Local Municipality
You can also contact your local municipality to find out more information on property lines. Property surveys are public records. Furthermore, these records are usually stored by your local municipality.
If you are unable to locate a property survey by other common means, consider contacting your local records department. Keep in mind they are likely to charge a fee for this request, but they may offer the information online (or even in person) for free.
7. Look For Buried Pins And Other Visual Cues
Many properties have physical evidence of property lines. These are several ways to find physical evidence of property lines. The most common way, however, is locating steel pins that are found just below the land’s surface.
These are called survey pins. They are usually put in place by builders or companies when they define property lines. One great way to locate these pins is to use a metal detector.
Simply walk the property, especially along the approximate area you think to be the property line. When your metal detector is triggered, dig, and see if you can locate these pins. Once you locate a few pins you should be able to start drawing the accurate path of the property line.
Warning: Buried pins are used for other reasons. Similar pins are installed by tree removal companies and electrical companies. Therefore they are not always used to determine property boundaries.
8. Contact The Mortgage Lender For Property Survey
If you don’t have much documentation on your property borders, consider contacting someone who will — your mortgage lender. Before a lender approves a loan, they require (and hold on to) a lot of information about the property. This includes property survey information.
Mortgage companies also may have done additional research on property size and boundaries before approving your loan. You may be able to access all this useful information by contacting your lender.
9. Serve A Boundary Notice To Your Neighbor
If you need your property line due to a land dispute with a neighbor, then you might need to take a different and more legal approach. If you and your neighbor have used similar methods (like a property app, deeds, and property survey) and can’t agree on a common property line, you might need to serve a boundary notice to your neighbor.
When you serve a boundary notice to a neighbor, you explain you intend to hire a surveyor to determine the exact property lines. Your neighbor then has one week to respond by defining where they believe the property line is. They can do this by hiring a separate land surveyor. They can also use pegs to mark where they believe the property line is.
Summing Up How To Find Property Lines
If you own property, you probably have a general idea of your property line. But some circumstances might come up that require you to find out a more exact property line. The best way to get a definitive understanding of your property lines is by hiring a licensed land surveyor.
You can also look at property maps if you have access to them. Your property deed should have useful information when it comes to property boundaries. You can also contact your local municipality or mortgage company for property survey information. There are even apps and websites that can provide you with fairly accurate property line information.
Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.
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