When it comes to property security, few things protect the entire perimeter of your land like a tall, continuous fence. If you're looking to install one, you'll need to make sure that you are clear about where your property line actually falls. Otherwise, you risk crossing onto your neighbor's land by mistake. Here are a few ways that you and the fence company can identify where your property boundaries are.
Why Does it Matter?
Many cities and towns have ordinances that require fences to be installed a specific distance from the actual property boundary. And, if you install the fence across your neighbor's property, you may find that he or she can place legal claim on the fence itself or take you to court to force you to move it. Be proactive about identifying your property line to ensure that your new fence is legally installed.
When Surveys Were Already Done
If land surveys have already been completed, you may find that the boundaries are already clearly marked. Here are a few things you can look for to help you determine where your property line ends.
Property Survey Map or Markers
A property survey includes a published drawing that defines the property lines. You can have the survey completed when you buy the property or at any time thereafter. The survey company may mark your property boundaries using flags or ribbons tied to trees along the property edge.
The colors of the ribbons or flags can vary based on specific features of the land, so make sure that you get clear detail from the survey technician about exactly how the lines are marked. Make sure that you share this information with your fence installer so that he or she understands the flagging methodology as well.
Underground Boundary Markers
If a land survey has been done and you can't find the markers, chances are good that the surveyor or the owner marked the boundaries with underground markers. Underground property markers are metal rods that you drive into the ground along your property line. They can be used solely to mark the corners of the property, or they can be spaced out along the entire boundary line.
If you suspect that the previous owner may have already installed underground boundary markers, locating them is a simple process. Rent a metal detector and scan the property along the lines marked by the town's boundary reports or the documents provided by your surveyor.
Other Sources for Property Line Clarification
If your neighbors have had surveys completed as well, it can be helpful to compare the prints of the properties to see if there are any variances. This may help you proactively address any confusion so that you can be sure your fence line is legally positioned. Your local land registry office or town clerk can help you access the current files that show what the town's records indicate for property ownership and boundary lines as well.
If you need to use any boundary markers before the fence is installed, make sure that you select things that you can protect from the elements. After all, a rusted or deteriorated property marker isn't going to be as easy to identify as one that's been sealed and coated to protect it from weathering for years to come.
As you can see, there are many different ways to mark the boundaries of property. Knowing what to look for will help you and the fence installation company position your property barrier on your land and avoid the potential legal hassles that can come from encroaching on your neighbor's property by accident. Talk with your fence company and a local land surveyor to ensure that your information is accurate if there is any question. It's better to confirm ahead of time than to find that you have to move the fence later.