Boundary disputes happen all the time. Your neighbor has decided to build a fence six inches over the property line, or you want to sell your land and the neighbors insist your property is smaller than it is. What can you do to fix the problem?
Property line surveys in Texas help determine where the legal physical boundaries of your property lie. You should get one whenever you’re thinking of buying a property, selling your own or need to settle a dispute between neighbors. Read on for an overview of property line surveys, how they’re conducted and when you might need one.
Defining a property line survey
Property surveys are also known as boundary surveys, property line surveys or retracement surveys, but they’re all approximately the same thing. These surveys use legal documents, landmarks and other data to determine your exact property boundaries. This helps owners, buyers, mortgage companies and other interested parties figure out exactly how much property you own and what its precise boundaries are—otherwise, you may be subject to disputes, problems with the title or other issues that impact ownership.
How a property line survey is conducted
Depending on how your land was originally divvied up, there may be multiple documents pertaining to the property lines. For example, modern parcels of residential land are often part of subdivisions, so the surveyor would look at the original subdivision survey map, your title and deed and your parcel’s specific survey.
Sometimes these different documents conflict. It’s not unheard of for neighbors to have “proof” that their property lines overlap. In that case, the surveyor has to find the original monuments or landmarks used in the survey and match them up to the current landscape. This may include easements and property descriptions within title and deed descriptions.
Even if you can find the property markers on your land, you’ll still need to hire a professional surveyor. Property markers are not foolproof—they can shift and move over time, including when someone deliberately moves them. However, you should be able to get a good idea of what you’re dealing with from the legal documents.
How long does it take and how much does it cost?
All property surveys are performed on a case-by-case basis, so they’ll depend on how difficult it is to identify landmarks, calculate the property lines and access former records like deeds, titles and map surveys. This can take as little as several days and several hundred dollars, but if the property survey is complex, the price and time will go up. The more recently your property has been parceled and surveyed, the easier it tends to be—but there are no guarantees. Unusual situations can arise, and the particulars of every case are different.
Ultimately, you’ll need a property survey in Texas whenever you want to buy or sell land or settle disputes, so it’s important to work with an experienced and reliable surveyor. Call D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc. today to learn more about our services.