Posted in Blog  
  on Sep 17, 2014

How To Survey Your Own Property

Why do you need to know where your property lines are? It's the limit to the rights that you have on the land you own. Your right to live the way you want to live stops at the boundary. It is even the place where your pets must stop before higher levels of liability sit in if they cause problems! The easiest way to establish where your property lines are is through a survey. This can be an expensive service, however, so it pays to know how to survey your own property.

You Need to Know How To Read a Property Description

When you find a house or a property, you generally follow a set of directions that will lead you right to the correct location. That's what the legal property description is when a survey needs to be done! It's essentially a set of instructions that includes landmarks that outline the exact boundary lines a property has.

Some descriptions are pretty easy to interpret because they include exact directions on how to determine the lines. If a property is 208 feet from the point of the beginning of a road and extends 434 feet to the edge of a creek, then extending directly west for another distance, all you've got to do is trace out the route with a measuring tape and some string with posts.

Some properties, and especially those in the Western US, utilize the public land surveying system that was established by Thomas Jefferson. This system breaks down all land by one mile squares. Then sub-units are established based on each quarter of that square mile. These quarters can get broken down continuously until it reaches the actual size of your property. The good news is that each section has a boundary marker so that the corners can be established. The bad news is that those corners probably don't exist today.

You'll Also Need to Make Sure the Deed Is Mistake Free

Believe it or not, there are a number of property deeds that have errors contained within their descriptions. If there are boundary lines that overlap, then this creates a dispute that must be resolved before the overlapped land can be utilized. It doesn't even matter if your deed was issued first – disputes must be legally resolved.

If it is accurate, then you'll be ready to start your field work. Your own home survey begins with one known point that you can absolutely match with the legal description of your property. It could be a marker, a specific landmark, or even something on your neighbor's land. A fence or a ditch isn't reliable as a boundary marker unless the legal description mentions it.

Then you simply measure out the land based on the description that you have. Keep in mind that survey teams use lengths in feet and tenths of a foot for accurate measurements, not inches. Some old survey descriptions measure the length in chains, which equals 66 feet in length.

With the right description, the right tools, and a little work on your property, you can conduct your own survey. Use this information to complete that task effectively and you'll be able to save money and use your property in the way you want.


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