Most people don’t have to deal with land surveys in Texas on a regular basis, so there are plenty of myths and misconceptions. Whether you’re dealing with a property dispute or are about to buy a new home, make sure that you know the truth behind these myths. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for legal issues in the future:
- MYTH—Property encroachment is rare: Most people assume that their property lines are delineated by fences, so encroachment doesn’t happen all that often. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. People accidentally (and purposely) build over their property lines all the time. The only way to be absolutely sure you’re not encroaching on someone else’s land is to have it surveyed.
- MYTH—You can build a fence without a survey: Similarly, don’t assume that you can just build a fence where you think your property line lies. You may find out that you’ve built on your neighbor’s land, which may require you to tear down the fence and start again.
- MYTH—Your fence is your property line: Many neighbors assume that their pre-existing fence delineates the property boundaries, especially if “it’s always been there.” Unfortunately, property surveys in the past were far more inaccurate than what’s available today, so the longer your fence has been there, the less likely that’s actually the property line. Get a modern survey to be totally sure.
- MYTH—You don’t need a second survey: Your property was surveyed once, so you don’t need a second one, right? Wrong. Land changes over time, and since surveying isn’t an exact science, two surveyors can come up with different results. The older the survey, the less likely it’s completely accurate. This is especially important if the original survey referenced landmarks or monuments that no longer exist. When building on your property, buying or selling, it behooves you to get a new survey.
- MYTH—All land has already been surveyed: The United States has been around almost 250 years—wouldn’t you think that all the land available has already been surveyed? While it’s true that a good deal of land has had at least one survey performed on it over the last two centuries, now you know that older surveys are not necessarily accurate. Don’t rely on a hundred-year-old property description—get a new survey to ensure you have the most accurate boundaries possible.
- MYTH—Surveys are expensive. Sometimes the hesitation to have a survey performed is because property owners think it’s going to be too expensive. Luckily, that’s a Texas land surveying myth, too—if you build on someone else’s property, that could cost you thousands of dollars in redoing construction, litigation and more. A survey is far less costly.
- MYTH—You can just use the survey stakes. If you’ve located the old survey stakes, you might assume those are the legal boundaries of your property. Unfortunately, that’s not an accurate measurement, and won’t hold up if you have to go to court.
For professional land surveys in Texas, whether to settle a property dispute or for any other reason, call D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc. today.