How do I locate my property lines?
Whether you're building a fence or planting trees, as a property owner you first need to know where you property lines are. Knowing where they begin and end is vital when making major improvements, as a major investment can be lost if the fence or landscaping is placed on an adjoining property by mistake. However, it's not too complicated to find your property lines; the key is knowing where to look and what to look for.
Examine the deed to your house; if you cannot locate the deed then examine your mortgage loan papers. Both of these documents will contain the survey information for your property, which outlines how to find the division lines.
Look for a paragraph that states," The property known as..." this will be the legal description of your property, and may or may not contain the street address. Note that the exact wording may be different, depending on the legal requirements of the state where the property is located.
Locate the section of the paragraph that describes your property. Typically, this will read, "Starting from the survey post 300 feet SE from the intersection of Main Street;" the numbers, directions and identifying landmarks will be specific to your individual property. This is your property line description, and the corners will be physically marked with metal survey posts.
Stand at the corner of your property, and examine the ground closely until you find a survey post. Typically the posts will project one foot above the ground, but may be harder to find if the last survey was performed many years prior.
Measure from the first survey post down the length of your property the distance listed on the survey portion of your deed, walking as straight as possible in the specified direction. When you reach the distance listed, examine the ground until you find the second survey post.
Run a length of string or twine from the first post you found to the second post. This will give you a visual of the property line you have found.
Repeat the procedure for the other three sides of your property. You will now have the boundaries of your property line marked all around with string, and you can continue with your home improvement project.
Survey posts are visible when they are first marked, but may become buried by shifting soil over the years. A metal detector is handy for finding a buried survey post. Occasionally a survey point will be in the shoulder or lane of the road, and will not be marked by a post.
It is illegal to move a survey post. This procedure is not a substitute for an official survey.
- House deed or mortgage papers
- Measuring tape
- String or twine (length to cover perimeter of property)