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How to Find Your Property Lines

Photograph of hands drawing on a map with a wooden model of a home in the background

Determining the precise boundaries of your property is crucial for a variety of reasons, including construction projects, fence installation, and resolving disputes with neighbors. For an accurate comprehension of your property and its confines, understanding the specific boundaries and identification methods is crucial. With this knowledge, you gain a precise insight into the areas where construction or expansion of your real estate is permissible and where it's limited.

What are Property Lines?

Property lines delineate the legally recognized boundaries of your property, providing an exact definition of land ownership that shows exactly where ownership of one plot of land starts and ends.

Property lines are set through careful legal and surveying processes. Licensed surveyors measure and map boundaries with advanced tools, placing boundary markers and creating detailed maps. They research historical records and deeds to ensure accuracy, resulting in a legal property description, which could be in metes and bounds or a rectangular system, marked permanently on the ground.

These findings and the legal descriptions are filed with local land records or with the county, becoming public record. Property deeds include these descriptions, and any updates must be recorded in these deeds. In disputes, survey plans are key for legal decisions. Maintaining accurate property records is essential for owners and buyers, and it's important to work with a qualified surveyor and know the local laws.

Why are Property Lines Important?

Property lines play a crucial role in property ownership, offering clear and definitive demarcations. These delineations guarantee an accurate comprehension of the land being purchased. For residential real estate purchases, mortgage lenders and title insurance companies depend on authenticated property lines to streamline the mortgage approval process.

Before initiating any outdoor projects, such as constructing a garage, replacing a fence, installing a pool, or enhancing your landscaping, it's crucial to thoroughly assess your property's boundaries. Understanding the precise limits of your property is key to ensuring that new extensions or fences do not unintentionally infringe upon your neighbor's land. This diligent evaluation guarantees that you can enjoy the upgrades to your home and garden without inadvertently overstepping into your neighbors’ space or sparking any potential disputes.

How to Find Your Property Lines

To avoid issues with property lines and prevent potential conflicts with your neighbors, here are 4 easy ways to find property lines:

1) County Recorder Or Assessor’s Office

County recorder or assessor's offices keep detailed records of property boundaries through deeds, surveys, and maps, ensuring public access to this information. Many regions provide free online databases for homeowners to view property lines and zoning regulations, accessible through county websites.

2) Review Your Property Deed

A property owner can refer to a copy of their deed, which is a document that is typically provided during the closing of a home purchase, to help locate their property lines. This deed often includes essential information about the property’s legal boundaries, either in metes and bounds descriptions or by referencing survey markers and adjacent properties. The tax description within a property deed explains the boundaries of your property.

3) Read the Plat Map

Upon purchasing a specific property, you are usually provided with a plat map or a property line map. If not, it is available at the county clerk's office, but they may charge a small fee. This map precisely details your lot's dimensions in relation to neighboring lots on your block.

4) Hire a Surveyor

The most accurate and effective method to determine your exact property lines is to hire a surveyor to determine your property lines. The property surveyor will first check county records to understand the history of the lot to uncover easements, subdivisions, and any other important factors that could affect your property and what you choose to do with it. The cost to hire a licensed land surveyor typically runs between $330 and $670 per survey, and depending on the location, size, and property history, can run over $1,000 per survey.

Uncovering Property Lines for Due Diligence

As a prospective property owner, it is important that you exercise caution regarding property lines as you move through the purchasing process. For example, in the case of residential properties specifically, the previous owners may have failed to account for property lines before they started various home improvements, and could have encroached on a neighbor’s property. A severe encroachment issue could prompt you to renegotiate the deal or walk away altogether. It's recommended that you ask your lender for a copy of the completed property survey before purchasing any property to determine its true size and if there may be any future problems with any developments you'd like to make on the property.

LandApp can help prospective property owners conduct due diligence on any U.S. property that they are interested in purchasing. Although LandApp's parcel maps do not replace a professional property survey and should be used for reference only, the tool has many other in-depth property data points to help evaluate any property's potential:


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