Do you know where your yard is? How do you know where you should mow or where to put that new fence? How do you know if the in ground pool or retaining wall are located into the utility easement area?
Purchasing a home includes the purchase of land. Your yard doesn’t necessarily start where the neighbor is currently mowing to. You may not own to the existing fence or even the tree line. Those utility poles and electric boxes that are “on the property line”, probably aren’t. The only way to know where your land begins and ends is know where your property corners are located.
Thinking twice about spending the money to have a boundary survey performed? Here are a few examples of potential concerns that the survey might discover:
- That your house is built on the wrong lot. Yes, it sounds farfetched, but it does happen!
- That your house is located in the easement area. This happens more frequently than you think. Do you want to pay to have the utility line moved or vacated?
- That you neighbor has their fence or sprinkler system located on your property. There comes a point where they can claim the land that you legally own as their own and can take it from you.
- Scenario: You just bought a new house. You walk out onto your back porch and look at your fenced in back yard, ready to mow and manicure your back yard for years to come. Problem: You may not own all the land inside the fence or worse yet, you may own land that is located outside of the fence. Do you know what land you own? Solution: Have a boundary survey (stake survey) performed.You may not always know what it is that you own. Visible items such as fences, mow lines, and utility poles/boxes are not necessarily an accurate reflection of what property you actually own. Professional Land Surveyors are licensed through the state and their purpose is to determine the location of property corners. Surveyors use recorded information available through the county to determine the precise location of your property corners. That information can then be used to establish the “line” that exists between the two corners, which in turn aides in the establishment of your property.
- Scenario: After purchasing the house of your dreams, you are ready to add that in-ground pool you’ve always dreamed of. Problem: You may not have as much “usable” land as you thought you did. Solution: Get a copy of your title commitment from when you purchased your house and review it for easements.An easement is an interest in land owned by another person, consisting in the right to use or control the land, for a specific limited purpose. Simply put, you own the land, but someone else has the right to use it. Easements are commonly granted to utility companies. You gave them the right to put utility lines in your yard and by doing so, you agree not to interfere with their ability to use or access the easement area. When you purchase a home, a title company performs research pertaining to the history of the property. One of their many purposes is to identify easements that are on your property, regardless of if that easement is to a utility company or to your neighbor for their fence or driveway. If a boundary survey is performed, those easements should be shown and referenced on the drawing. If you build something in an easement, you run the risk of having to remove that item from the easement area if the utility company needs to access that land. So if you have an easement in your back yard, you may not be able to put a pool in like you had planned.
How do you find your yard?
It seems like a simple question…
- Where is your yard?
- What do you really own?
- Do you own everything inside your fence or everything outside of your neighbor’s fence?
- Do you own up to where you’ve always mowed, or, do you own up to where the tree line is?
- Do you own to where the utility pole is or to where the electric box is located?
Unless you know where your property corners are located, you don’t know what you own, or how to find your own yard.
You Need A Boundary Survey
A boundary survey is a survey that is performed to Missouri Minimum Standards in which the property corners are located, verified and reestablished. Most property corners are located by a survey monument, which is typically an 18 inch long iron pipe or rebar, that is located below ground level. The biggest problem is that even though many property corners already exist, most property owners don’t know where their monuments are located.
Professional Land Surveyors are licensed through the state to determine the location of property corners. Surveyors use recorded information available through the county, along with records provided through the Department of Natural Resources, to determine the precise location of your property corners. That information can then be used to establish the “line” that exists between the two corners, which in turn aides in the establishment of your property.
Once property corners are located and established, they can be used to build improvements, such as a fence. A majority of the time, people have fences installed (which can cost thousands of dollars) without knowing where their corners are located. Building a fence, without knowing what you really own can cause potential problems down the road. Save yourself some time and headache by building in the right place.
A boundary survey is typically $375-$750 depending upon the age of your subdivision and the size of the property. The older the subdivision is or the larger the lot is, the more field work and research are needed in order to perform the survey to the state requirements, which may increase the price of the survey.
Most people don’t think about the consequences that can occur down the road by building a fence in the wrong yard. When you go to sell your home, or purchase a home, fencing can become an issue. If you find out that you built your fence on your neighbor’s property, you can be asked to move it onto your own property- which we know can be labor intensive and expensive. If your neighbor happens to have their fence on your property – you’re faced with a dilemma: do you “ignore” the situation and continue to pay for the land that they are using or do you ask them to move it and potentially start the beginning of a Hatfield and McCoy situation?
The answer is simple- Make It Known What You Own!
Have a boundary survey performed so that you can find your own yard.