Real Estate June 21, 2024

Understanding Property Lines: Why They Matter and How to Find Them

Understanding your property lines is crucial when buying a home. Clear property boundaries prevent confusion and disputes with neighbors, ensuring a harmonious living environment. Here are three important points to help you identify your property lines accurately.


Methods to Find Your Property Lines

There are several ways to determine your property lines. One of the most reliable methods is to review your property’s plat, a detailed map that shows property boundaries, easements, and dimensions. You can often obtain a copy from your local county recorder’s office. Additionally, you can hire a professional land surveyor who will use precise tools and historical data to mark your property lines accurately. Online Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps provided by many local governments can also offer a general idea of your property boundaries.


Avoid Assumptions Based on Visual Markers

It might be tempting to assume that existing fence lines, driveways, or your neighbor’s garden mark the boundary of your property. However, these visual markers can be misleading and inaccurate. Property lines may not align with these physical structures due to changes over time, informal agreements between previous owners, or incorrect installations. Relying on such assumptions can lead to disputes and potential legal issues. Always verify your property lines through official documents and professional surveys.


Mortgage Lender Requirements

When purchasing a home, your mortgage lender will likely require a new property survey. This standard procedure ensures no encroachments or boundary issues could affect the property’s value or legality. A new survey provides an updated and precise delineation of your property lines, offering peace of mind for you and your lender.


The Importance of Property Lines for Home Modifications

Understanding your property lines is especially critical when planning to add a fence or make structural changes to your home. Putting a fence around the property, extending a driveway, or adding extensions to the structure of the house without accurate knowledge of your boundaries can lead to encroachments on your neighbor’s property, resulting in disputes and potential legal action. Moreover, local zoning laws and homeowners’ associations often have specific regulations regarding the placement of fences and structures relative to property lines. Ensuring you build within your property limits helps maintain good neighborly relations and keeps you compliant with local regulations, avoiding costly fines and the need to alter or remove the new construction.


Understanding and accurately identifying your property lines is a key aspect of homeownership. Utilizing official resources and professional services and getting a current survey done can help avoid misunderstandings and allow the homeowner to enjoy the property with confidence. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need assistance with your real estate needs.