Property Boundaries: Know before you buy

fenceline

Let’s say you’re shopping for new real estate online, and looking at the pictures, you come across one of those neat drone shots from above, with the yellow line drawn in, indicating the property boundary.  Should we assume that the yellow line drawn in the photo represents the accurate property boundary line?  Of course not.  While this is a great marketing tool, and can be very helpful for a potential buyer, all of these aerial shots should come with a disclaimer saying “Boundary is approximate!”

Now, let’s say the property you’re looking at has an existing fence that goes all the way around the yard.  Perfect!  Should one assume that the fence is the boundary line of this property?  Not necessarily.  It is possible that fence is on the boundary line, but it could also be intentionally offset from the boundary a certain distance, or meander back and forth between the properties.

How do I find out the property boundaries?

Property boundary questions are best answered by a professional land surveyor before closing on your real estate purchase. The property lines will be stated in the legal description for the lot, which would be on the property deed and on a plat map, typically available through the County Clerk’s office. A property’s legal description could simply describe the property’s exact location as it exists on the plat map, or it may include specific details with precise measurements from a nearby reference point.

But being able to translate the legal description to establish the physical boundaries on your property can be challenging if you’re not trained to do so. Many properties have hidden markers at the corners that, if found, can help you find your boundaries, but hiring a surveyor to establish these property lines would give you the most accurate answer.

Get a survey before any real estate purchase!

Certainly, you should be aware of any boundary discrepancies that could affect the value of your property before purchasing it. Any disputes about the boundaries of the property should be settled before you agree to purchase it, or you could have a legal headache later.

Who does the survey?

Property boundary surveys should be done by a state licensed and accredited land surveyor.  Please see our blog post about how to choose a land surveyor. Remember that all firms and individuals conducting land survey work in Wyoming must be registered with the state board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors.  Licenses can be searched and verified at the state website.  Above all, make sure you find a reputable land surveyor whose skill and judgment you can trust.

 

Author Info:

Jessica Maycock, GIS Technician. As a GIS technician with Land Surveying Incorporated since 2017, Jessica is responsible for preparing a variety of map deliverables and managing office-wide data through ArcGIS and AutoCAD software. She processes raw survey data and loads it into client-designed geodatabases to meet company data standards. Jessica holds a Master’s Degree in Biology (2006) and has 12 years of previous experience as a wildlife biologist and office manager providing biological consulting services to energy clients in Wyoming.

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