What are Property Traces, and Why do They Matter?

Property strains are the authorized boundaries of a given property, however sadly, they’re not all the time simple to seek out. Not solely is it important to know the place property strains are to maintain from planting or constructing one thing on a neighbor’s property, but it surely’s additionally essential to know that the majority heaps include setbacks that prohibit constructing inside a couple of toes of a property line. Guessing the place the authorized boundary is may end up in having to tear down a shed or storage that’s too near the property line.

Householders are liable for sustaining the garden and yard on their property and most will not be prepared to let a neighbor use useful garden if it doesn’t belong to them.

RELATED: Whose Responsibility Is it: Homeowner, Town, or Utility Company?



Have a look at your property survey. The survey is a doc with a rendering of the property strains and measurements, and will have been given to you once you purchased your property. The space from your own home to the property line and the road needs to be proven on the survey. Use the measurements and particulars about surrounding landmarks to visually decide the property strains and keep away from land disputes with neighbors.


As a house owner, it’s essential that you simply’re conscious of property strains so to respect your neighbor’s property and keep away from any authorized disputes. In the event you’re struggling to seek out your property’s property strains, make the most of one of many aforementioned methods, or go surfing to examine. Do not forget that earlier than you or your neighbor construct a fence on the property line, be sure that to seek the advice of with one another and an actual property agent about your property’s guidelines and rules. For extra details about shopping for actual property, take a look at our different assets for further reading on properties and mortgages.

Think about the Metes and Bounds Survey

In case your deed includes a metes and bounds survey—a survey that describes the precise distances and instructions from one established level in your property line to the following—you’ll have all the knowledge you should discover property strains. Sadly, one of these authorized description is notoriously troublesome to grasp except you’re a surveyor.

The metes and bounds survey cites a place to begin, positioned at considered one of corners of your property. From there, the survey gives you detailed instructions and distances that will help you find the remainder of the corners and boundary strains of your property. It’s much like a connect-the-dots sport, besides you do it on foot, not on paper. You’ll want a protracted measuring tape in addition to a good-quality directional compass so you possibly can transfer systematically from level to level.


However egad! You’ll discover {that a} metes and bounds survey reads like a Shakespearean play. A typical survey could let you know to “start” from the purpose of starting (POB), “operating thence westerly 100 toes, thence southerly at an inside angle of 55 levels to a degree,” and so forth till it brings you again to the unique place to begin.


How one can Discover Property Traces for Free

House owner’s Deed

A house owner’s deed ought to embody a authorized description of the plot of land, together with its measurements, form, block and lot quantity, and different identifiers comparable to landmarks and geographical options. If the language is difficult, attain out to your actual property lawyer or agent for assist in deciphering it.

A Tape Measure

If you wish to visually affirm your property strains, you should use a tape measure to find out the boundaries. From a identified level detailed within the deed’s description, measure to the property’s edge and place a stake at that time as a marker.

In any case the sides have been decided, measure the gap between the stakes. Evaluate the outcomes to ensure they match the corresponding deed or plat.

Present Property Survey from Mortgage or Title Firm

Most mortgage lenders require potential householders to have a present survey, and your title insurance coverage additionally relies on it. In the event you purchased your property lately however don’t have the survey, contact both firm to see if they’ve a duplicate on file.

Present Property Survey from County or Native Municipality

A property’s historical past and legalrecords are usually saved within the municipality or county’s tax assessor’s workplace or in its land data or constructing division. You’ll be able to often start your search by logging on to entry the related property data. Most municipalities provide this info free of charge, however some workplaces could require a small payment or ask that you simply entry the data in individual.

Buried Pins

On the corners of your property, you might be able to discover metal bars which have been buried, generally nonetheless seen, with a marked cap on the highest finish. These had been possible positioned in your land when a survey was accomplished. In the event you can’t readily see the pins (they could have been buried over time), use a metallic detector that will help you find them.

Whereas this isn’t a legally binding option to decide your property strains, it gives you a good suggestion of the boundaries. Warning: Earlier than you begin digging, name 811, the nationwide call-before-you-dig hotline, to request the placement of buried utilities you don’t wish to inadvertently dig into an underground utility line.

Use an App

Obtain an app like LandGlide that makes use of GPS to find out a parcel’s property strains. LandGlide is free for the primary seven days.


Examine your deed. The deed incorporates an outline of your property’s measurements and limits in phrases. Measure from the landmarks within the description to the property strains. Mark every nook with a stake or different marker. Measure from every stake to the following all the way in which round your property to make sure the measured strains match the deed. Bodily measuring the boundaries will permit you to visually decide the place the strains are and keep away from encroaching in your neighbor’s land.

Can My Neighbor Construct A Fence On The Property Line?

In case your neighbor is considering constructing a fence on the property line between your two houses, it’s essential that they’re conscious of all needed legal guidelines and rules. The place a neighbor can construct a fence on the property relies on jurisdiction legal guidelines, in addition to any deed restrictions on both of your houses. As a basic rule, legal guidelines usually state {that a} fence should be constructed not less than 2 – 8 inches from a neighbor’s property line. A fence constructed instantly on a property line could lead to a joint accountability of the fence between the neighbors, together with upkeep and prices. Simply as a precaution, for those who or a neighbor are considering of constructing a fence on or close to considered one of your property’s property strains, be sure that to seek the advice of your real estate agent on any guidelines and rules.

The place Can I Discover Data That Will Inform Me My Actual Property Boundaries?

You might be able to discover the property markers or boundary monuments your self. They are going to be positioned on the corners of your property. Usually these are metallic pins or stakes buried 6"-10" beneath the floor at every nook. The markers needs to be proven on the land survey. You should use a shovel and a metallic detector to seek out them. You can even reference the outline in your deed and stroll the boundaries of your property

You might discover details about how one can discover markers on properties like yours by visiting the part of your metropolis’s web site that offers with building and permits.

If you’re skilled sufficient to learn and perceive a land survey, you possibly can request a duplicate of the land survey or subdivision plot out of your county clerk’s workplace. These paperwork are required to have detailed info concerning the place your property boundaries are, however they’re advanced and are written for skilled surveyors.

If you wish to know precisely the place your property boundaries are, rent a licensed land surveyor. she or he will come out to your land and place markers on the boundary strains of your property. Yow will discover licensed land surveyors in your space by looking the web or visiting your city corridor and asking metropolis employees who does surveys in your space. (In rural communities there could also be just one surveyor who handles a big space.)

In most conditions, the price of a land survey is dictated by the scale of the land that’s to be surveyed, whether or not there’s an correct subdivision map already present, geographic location, and the final time the land was surveyed.

The price of a survey usually begins at $500 and goes upwards into the 1000’s of {dollars}. In case your land has not been surveyed for a very long time, or if there are a number of present survey maps that battle with one another, you possibly can count on to pay extra.

Have Extra Questions About Property Boundaries? Ask a Lawyer

Property disputes can get heated rapidly. The easiest way to maintain a dispute from getting out of hand is to know your property rights. Contact a talented real estate lawyer close to you to debate your scenario and find out how they might help resolve your matter decisively.

Why is it essential to know the placement of your property strains? 

Property strains are in place to maintain one property proprietor from encroaching on one other proprietor’s land or compromising their privateness by constructing too near their home. A typical encroachment could be tree limbs that develop previous your property and overhang right into a neighbor’s yard or a driveway poured to increase onto a neighbor’s property. When you realize precisely the place your property strains fall, you’ll keep away from by chance encroaching in your neighbor’s land.

In the event you plan to construct a everlasting construction, you’ll wish to be as correct as doable, and ordering your personal land survey is the most suitable choice. In most states, you’re required to name a diggers hotline 811 to request buried utility info earlier than you construct a fence, plant a tree, or lengthen your driveway. This name ensures you realize the placement of any buried wires or irrigation programs to keep away from inflicting injury. Inside a couple of days’ discover, somebody out of your native utility firm ought to be capable to mark county wires or pipes with spray paint or flags.

Since property line info may be useful to somebody you might sell your house to, you’ll want to maintain all data. Make a copy of a brand new survey you’ve accomplished, a plat map, or any info from town or county workplaces in digital or laborious copy format. In the event you do a brand new survey, you may additionally have to register it together with your county assessor or recorder. In the course of the sale of a property, the title company will seek for encroachment of 1 property into one other. They could refuse title insurance coverage to the vendor in the event that they discover a property line dispute.

When you understand how to seek out your property strains, you’ll achieve peace of thoughts for any undertaking that would come near the sting of the property. Exhibiting respect to your neighbor and their property rights might help you keep away from a lawsuit. 

Necessary Issues to Keep in mind about Your Property Line:

It’s all the time essential to know your rights as a house owner, particularly in relation to property strains. These disputes are the reason for many neighborhood arguments and may be simply stopped with some data. Beneath are a couple of reminders:

  • Leaves, pods, acorns, and so forth. falling onto your property are thought of a pure incidence and are the property proprietor’s accountability to clear away.
  • If branches fall and trigger injury in your property for any cause aside from a storm, your neighbor is liable for the cleanup and injury.
  • In the event you and your neighbor evaluate deeds and the property strains don’t match up, you’ll need to comply with pay for a survey. It’s important to agree to separate the survey, one individual can’t bully the opposite into paying for the survey.

All the time examine together with your native legal guidelines earlier than getting right into a dispute. Property legal guidelines change drastically from state to state.

Get up to speed on your new home with these 12 tips.


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