How to figure out property lines
There are many reasons why you would want to know how to figure out property lines. If you are buying a home and you wish to map out the perimeter to check whether the neighbors are not within it, that’s one reason. If you own a property and you want to install something like a fence or shed, that’s another reason. You might have a dispute with a neighbor about something they are building, and that’s the reason you need to know. Whatever the reason, we’ll walk you through how to figure out property lines.
If you are buying a property, ask the current owner
It’s always a good idea to stake out the property line for a home you are buying. After all, how would you know if a neighbor is mistakenly taking up part of your property without knowing the property lines? You should be able to get the plat, which is the map of your property lines, from the seller. Ask for it. Then, you can use it to map out the property line yourself, or hire a professional surveyor.
If you own the home, check your property survey
When you bought your home, you probably got a map of your property lines, or, plat. This plat may have only your home on it, or, if your home is part of a development or subdivision, the plat may show the whole subdivision. In this case, your home may be marked by “parcel” with a number or “lot” with a number, indicating which lot is yours within the subdivision.
From the plat, you can look at landmarks and measurements and then translate the map into measurements on your own property.
Get in touch with your county’s assessor
The county assessor is responsible for assessing property taxes. Assessors store all property boundary information, as they use this, and other information, to determine property taxes. If you are a homeowner, you should be able to get your own property line map from the county assessor.
Check the assessor website
Some county assessors have online tools to look at property lines, including maps.
Visit your assessor in person
If your assessor does not have online tools, call and make an appointment for a visit so that you can access the property line information for your property that they have on file. You can request copies of maps that show your property line and use that as a reference when you measure your property line.
Try your county recorder, too. The county recorder is responsible for storing all deeds, mortgages and leases.
Check your deed
You can also find a description of your property line on your deed. It should have a written description of your property’s boundaries, listing landmarks to reference when measuring it. This article gives information on how to check your deed.
Hire a surveyor
If you have a property line dispute or need an exact stake-out of your property line, for sale or purchase, you can hire a surveyor who will give you a professional assessment of where your physical property line lies. The cost of hiring a surveyor can cost anywhere from $300 to $1000, depending on your location and the size of your property.
Why knowing your property line is important
In some areas, if a neighbor uses your land for a certain amount of time as their own, that part of the property can become theirs. So, it’s very important that you know the boundaries of your property, as well as the laws in your area. Also, if you were to build a fence or other structure on areas that aren’t your property, it could be a costly mistake when it has to be moved or taken down.
Be aware of zoning laws with respect to property lines
In some areas, you need to have a buffer between the edge of your property line and any fixed object, such as a fence or shed. In addition to knowing your property line, you should be aware of zoning laws so that you don’t run afoul of any laws, which could be costly to fix later on.