Property line: How to find property lines?

Property Management Blog

New investors should know and understand all the aspects of property and property lines are one of them. Property lines are also called boundaries and they define the space of the property. If you are planning to buy a property it is very important to know the actual boundary of the property you will own. These. Lines are usually marked with walls or fences and they are important in terms of law and property respect. Here we are discussing the Basics of property lines, who determines them, and how homeowners can find them.

What are property lines?

As mentioned earlier property lines are also called boundary lines. These are the real or imaginary lines that represent the legal limits of a property. These lines are applicable for homes, condos, apartments, and every unit which is leased or owned by someone. If the property is located adjacent to the public street, property lines will respect the public’s right of way. Usually, these lines are visible like fences and highlights on roads. However, that is not always the case. It is the responsibility of the owner to know the property lines. 

Importance of property lines

Property lines are important for several reasons, some are mentioned below. 

  • It is important to know property lines to avoid any legal dispute. Everyone should respect the private space of his neighbor. 

  • Property lines are important when you plan a new project.   If the architect knows the exact dimensions, he will be able to design it properly. It is also vital if you want to add new features like a swimming pool or balcony. 

  • When you apply for a mortgage you will need property lines.

  • Insurance companies also ask for the property lines before they finalize the agreement.

Who determines property lines?

Property lines depend on various factors. For instance, when this neighborhood was established, if it’s the same lines from all those years so property lines have been changed over time. 

If we talk about the responsible person for these property lines, it’s the surveyor of the area. A surveyor is a certified professional who identifies formal and legal property lines of properties. The same person is also responsible for the detailed land map of the property. It includes details about structures and rights of ways. If necessary, neighbors can reach a mutual agreement and alter property lines. But changes in the legal description of the property are also required in this case. 

How to find property lines?

New property owners have no idea about finding property lines. Here are a few ways to find them. 

Check property line map: Find and check the property line map, which reflects the boundaries of the property. It is also called a ‘plat’: It not only shows property lines but also the structures, elevations, and water resources present on the property. If there is any shared boundary with the next-door neighbor, the map will show that too. These maps are available at the local assessor's office. Find the papers of property and you can see the map with these papers. 

Find the deed: A deed of the property is the legal document of property, it also contains information about property lines. You can find a written description of the property boundaries in this document. If your deed fails to describe boundaries clearly, you can ask the seller or the property agent for an older version of these papers, which must contain the required information. 

Property line survey: If the above-mentioned methods are not helpful, you can ask for the property line survey. This is another document that has accurate measurements of the property. You need to hire a professional surveyor for this purpose. He will do a complete survey of the property and mention the property lines too. A property survey is also required to close a deal with mortgage lenders. 

Look for property line markers: When you visit a property to buy it, these markers may get your attention. These markers are placed at the time of the division of property. They can be pins popping out from the ground or stripes in sharp colors. However, they are not reliable like the property deed or other documents. 

Is information about property lines available for free?

New landlords want to know if information about property lines is available for free or if they have to pay for it. You can get this information for free by using platforms like Google maps. You need the address of the property and you can see the property lines. However, it’s just general information about a property, you cannot use it for legal or any official purpose. Google map is free but it might not be accurate, as it has limitations. Properties in remote areas may not be visible. Other than google, many other software are also available which offer similar features. 

Disputes related to property lines

The real estate investment business is not as easy as it seems. The landlord has to be responsible and must have complete information about property lines. Some disputes are also associated with property ownership and encroachment is one of them. 

When a neighbor violates the property of his neighbor by crossing the property line, it is called encroachment. Usually, people build new features in their houses without respecting property lines. Sometimes it’s just ignorance but usually, people do it intentionally. Encroachment can be of different types, for instance, Trespassing without permission, building a fence, extending any previous structure, or building a new feature.

These are very small things that can be easily neglected, but they can be a cause of legal dispute and sometimes lead to property damage as well. So, these things must be avoided right from the beginning. A little conflict can be a reason for a legal dispute. The best thing to avoid any inconvenience is to talk to the neighbor. You can sell the encroached area to the neighbor and redefine your property lines. If he is not ready to remove the structure and doesn’t want to buy it, you can file a legal case in court. 

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty.

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