Boundary surveys and property line surveys can be a confusing prospect, especially for those who have recently purchased their own home. Once the homeowner is ready to add fencing, some common questions are bound to come up. This guide is here to answer any questions the homeowner may have about property boundaries and property line surveys.
How Do I Find Information About My Property’s Boundaries?
The homeowner may be able to find the property markers or boundary monuments on their own. They are typically located at the corners of the property and are often marked with stakes or metal pins buried 6 to 10 feet beneath the surface. They should be visible on the homeowner’s land survey. The description is also available in the deed.
Homeowners can also visit the section of their city’s website that addresses permits and construction. Meanwhile, those who have the experience necessary to properly read a land survey can request a copy from their local county clerk’s office. Detailed information is offered, but professional surveyors can read these surveys more easily. A licensed land surveyor will be more than happy to come out to the land and place boundaries wherever needed.
There may only be one land surveyor in more rural communities who handles the whole area. The costs will be dictated by the amount of land to be surveyed. The costs start at $500 and rise according to the answers to the following questions. Is an accurate subdivision map already in existence? Where’s the geographic location? When was the last time the land was surveyed? The costs can rise into the thousands based on the answers to those questions.
Can My Neighbor and I Strike Our Own Agreement on a Boundary Location?
A lot line agreement can be signed by both parties if everyone is on the same page. These are official, binding agreements that come with signed deeds that describe the property line in perfect detail. Local zoning and subdivision ordinances must be checked first to ensure compliance is achieved. Even the smallest loss of property could have ripple effects that neither party expects.
The town’s planning commission or governing board may need to get involved before these lot line agreements are improved, so be forewarned. If either (or both) sides are still paying off their mortgage, an attorney will need to be consulted. The bank must approve or either side could be found in breach of their mortgage. Loan modifications have to be obtained, and associated costs must be paid.
Once the deed has been signed, it is turned over to the county land records office. From there, they will make it available for public viewing upon request. This allows any future owner of the land to know more about the newly agreed-upon property lines.
What Recourse Do I Have If a Neighbor Begins To Use My Property?
Even if the neighbor’s actions are relatively minor, it is important for a homeowner to act immediately in these situations. Property boundaries are established for a reason, and even the most minor encroachment can lead to consequences that neither party can foresee. Let’s say that the neighbor builds a new fence or installs a new driveway that changes the property boundaries by a few inches.
Ah, that’s no big deal, right? Wrong. The title company could refuse to issue insurance once it comes time to sell the property. Many states also have laws that will allow a neighbor to gain possession of the land if they have used it for a long enough period of time. This is known as adverse possession.
In most situations, it is best to simply talk to the neighbor as soon as the encroachment is noticed. They are more likely to address the situation if it is handled calmly early on. If the neighbor refuses to rectify the issue, they will need to be shown the property boundaries. A land surveyor can also be called in to reestablish the property line markers.
If the neighbor continues? It is time to contact a lawyer and file a trespass lawsuit. Should the neighbor be found to be in the wrong, the judge will issue an order that forces the neighbor to cease all projects involving the homeowner’s land usage.
Any Additional Questions About Property Boundaries? Contact a Lawyer!
Property disputes are often quite heated, and they can spin out of control quickly. The more a homeowner knows about their property rights, the easier it is to keep a dispute of this nature from getting out of hand. An experienced real estate lawyer needs to be contacted right away, so that the situation can be discussed and a solution can be found immediately.