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Inside Information for Homeowners: Understanding Property Lines

Brace Helgeson

When you buy a house, you also buy the lot it sits on. However, you’d be surprised at how many people overlook the details when it comes to their lot, its true size, and its boundaries. Understanding your property lines also comes in handy, as this knowledge comes into play when settling neighborly disputes, getting a sense of your land’s truest value, or providing guidelines for zoning and building permit. Let’s say you decide to build a garage, pool, or new walkway—you’ll have to know the legal space you can build within. With that in mind, here are a few worthwhile things to consider when it comes to you and your property lines.    

Clarifying Property Lines Keeps Things Simple

It’s not uncommon for lawsuits to arise over property line violations. What’s more, the responsibility of costly maintenance—cutting down a tree or repairing a fence line—are also determined by property lines. That’s why property lines should be clearly understood and marked accordingly. Fences, garages, driveways, pools, backhouses, gardens—all are regular additions to today’s homes. However, it’s all too easy to run into trouble if you or your neighbor violate property boundaries in the process. To keep your neighborhood drama-free, begin by getting a clear understanding of your property lines.

Explore the Paperwork

First, refer to your house’s deed. This document should specifically outline your property’s boundaries using named landmarks. With your deed as your guide, walk out the edges of your property and stake the area. That way, you’ll have visible cues to keep property lines orderly. Be cautious, as some of the language used in your original deed—perhaps citing a certain tree or waterline—may become outdated. If that’s the case, you can refer to previous deeds until you get the information you need to mark out property lines. If the deed doesn’t help, you can also find this information from property surveys given to you upon purchase. Also called a plat, the property survey resembles a map and details the property lines and measurements of your lot. If you’re lucky, your survey may be available online through the local clerk or survey’s office.

 Hiring a Professional to Outline Property Lines

If you’re not totally sure where your property lines lie after researching, it’s a good idea to hire a surveyor to do the work for you. Professional survey or outline and map your property, staking out your borders clearly, but there are few things to consider beforehand. First, the cost of hiring a surveyor varies depending on the size and scope of your property. Second, not all surveyors are of equal quality, so do your research to find a well-reviewed and experienced professional who is both state-licensed and possesses liability insurance. Lastly, ask what kind of technology the surveyor uses to draw out lines. Digital renderings through GPS and CAD are valuable for your records, to settle disputes with neighbors, and to plan future projects on your land.

When it comes down to it, don’t put property lines off. Understand the sincere scope of your property investment by getting an official ruling on where your property lines begin and end.

 At Helgeson Platzke Real Estate Group, we are proud to be a member of Eden Prairie’s esteemed small business community. Since 1995, we’ve offered the very best in Twin Cities real estate, earning our community’s trust as the #1 Sales Team in the Eden Prairie area. With over 4,500 homes sold, our staff has both the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that your home ownership goals are delivered. So, if you’re considering buying or selling your Eden Prairie area home this summer, now is the time to enlist the help of a real estate professional who can help you make the most of this season’s extraordinary market.

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