How to find your property lines

How to find your property lines

Do you need to establish the property lines for your house?  Left wondering how to find your property lines?  There comes a time for the majority of homeowners when you need to know exactly where your boundaries or property lines are:  these lines define where your property ends, and where your neighbors’ property begins.

If there is any question over this with neighbors then it will save later problems if you involve your neighbor in the process and you do the work together to find establish and agree your shared boundary.

If you have fencing, or piles or rocks or similar moveable markers it does not necessarily follow that these are marking the boundary – they can be moved, erected incorrectly, or erected off of the boundary for any other reason.  It always works ensuring that you know exactly where the property lines for your house actually are.

01. Check Your Deeds

The extent of your property and your property lines should be reflected on the deeds that you received when you purchased your property, although I doubt you looked at it at the time and thought ‘I need to find my property lines, I’ll check this out’.  So, the first place to check is the deeds.

They will describe, in words, the extent of your land.  This may be clear given the on-ground terrain, or they may be slightly open to interpretation.  They are often referred to as a ‘metes and bounds survey’. If you can establish the landmarks described, you can measure from them to your boundary line.  Mark the property lines with stakes as you measure, mark the line frequently as you go to avoid encroaching on your neighbor’s land accidentally.

If you are left with any doubts about where the property lines are then there are other steps to take.

02. Dig Out Your Survey

You will almost certainly have been given a survey as part of your purchase process.  This survey will also detail the extent of the property so that you can find the exact extent of your property, and your property lines and boundaries.  It should detail the measurements from your house to each of your property lines and to the street.

property lineOne of the most obvious ways that a previous survey may help you is that the metal marker posts erected at the corner of the plot at the time may still be in-situ, but not be immediately obvious, it’s worth having a look for them where you think they will be.  You are looking for a marker which is about 18” long, ¾” wide, and made of metal – if it has been done more recently you may find that the rod has a plastic cap.

Even if they are not immediately obvious it’s worth checking thoroughly, possibly even borrowing a metal detector – most lots have been marked in this way at some point.

Didn’t have a survey done?  Still wondering ‘how can I find my property lines?  You can attend the local county assessor’s office and use the mapping tools available there.

If you did not receive a survey when you originally purchased your property then you can instruct a surveyor.  You can instruct your surveyor to measure and mark the property lines and mark them on the ground with corner stakes.  Make sure that you meet with the surveyor during his visit so that you can walk the property boundary with him and understand exactly the parameters he is explaining – it’s always easier to talk to someone than read a report.

Surveyors costs will vary depending upon your property size, the location, and the property value.  Once you have the survey in hand then I would encourage you to register this with your county assessor or recorder.  They may well be a good place to go to get a recommendation on who to use.

03. Research at Your County Assessor’s Office

Start by checking the website of the local county assessor’s office which serves your municipality when you have decided I need to find my property lines.  Some offices make online mapping tools available which comprehensively cover all of the real estate within their area.

These maps will not only help you establish the property lines for your boundaries, but also will enable you to locate local landmarks, and they enable you to accurately place yourself.  These landmarks will enable you to orientate yourself, take measurements, and confirm that you have found your property lines with confidence.

If you have not been able to complete the task with confidence and think I still need more help to find my property lines, or if your county assessor’s office isn’t online then visit the office.  The staff there will be able to provide you with a selection of maps that detail your property and neighborhood.  Be clear about what you are trying to do and let them know that you wish to establish your property lines and they may be able to provide maps that will help you mark your boundary lines.

You may have decided that ‘I need to know how to find my property lines’ because of concerns over personal, or liability reasons, you may have a neighbor who you feel is encroaching upon your land, you may have ambitions to build a structure within your property and need to know where it can go.

Author: Kyle Baxter

Kyle Baxter is married with one young son. A very short career in investigative journalism, and a particularly unfortunate experience over the purchase of a major household appliance that took many months to resolve when he could ill-afford the costs led Kyle to his current position as a consumer champion. When not seeking out guidance on the best-on-the-market Kyle enjoys watching baseball and tries to get away from the house long enough to do some off-road cycling.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *