For certain construction projects it is essential that the precise bonds between your property and your neighbors are determined. Unintentionally building an extension or fence in your neighbors yard may be very costly and damage good relationship with the folks next door.
As the proverb says, “Good fences make good neighbors” and there are methods to figure out where the boundaries are. Some of those methods are low-cost, simple, and adequate to satisfy your concern.
Others methods demand skills and will cost a fee and are most likely necessary for certain construction projects.
Checking sidewalks and streetlights may provide you with visual clues of where the limits are. Visiting the municipal office that records plats, Local Zoning Department, will provide information on maps that show land division. For houses built more than 100 years ago it might be slightly different, but you can probably obtain a copy of your block and lot plat for a minimal fee.
If you can retrace the original surveyor’s steps by locating the starting point, which will be labeled on the plat as either the “common point” or the “point of beginning”. With a long measuring tape, follow the plat, measuring your physical property for the exact dimensions of your lot. Your measurements should correspond with the ones on the plat.
- Visual clues are good indications of property lines, but if you intend to build or install something on your land, you’ll need additional verification.
- Before you drive yourself too crazy with the metes and bounds survey, know that the only legally binding method to determine exact property lines is to have a professional survey.
- If you don’t have a copy of your deed filed with your homeowner records, get one at the register of deeds office, often located within your county courthouse.
“The metes and bounds survey cites a starting point, located at one of corners of your property. From there, the survey will give you detailed directions and distances to help you locate the rest of the corners and boundary lines of your property. It’s similar to a connect-the-dots game, except you do it on foot, not on paper. You’ll need a long measuring tape, as well as a good quality directional compass, moving systematically from point to point.”