Property Lines: What to Know Before Buying a Home
5 minute read
February 5, 2023


If you’re in the market for a new home, you’ll want to do your homework on property lines.

Knowing where your property lines begin and end can help you avoid potential problems down the road. It’s worth taking the time to understand them before you make an offer on a home. 

You may inherit more property than expected or have less than you think once the home is yours. 

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of what property lines are and how to determine them. It’s important to know everything you can about a property before committing to purchase it so be sure to read on to learn more.

How are property lines determined?

Property lines are more than just an imaginary line separating one house from another —they’re a legal boundary determining who owns what. They are the official lines that determine property size and lot ownership. 

They’re sometimes marked by fences or physical markers, but be aware there are many instances where they remain unmarked and unclear to the naked eye. They have a direct link to the value of a property and what a property owner is responsible for maintaining.

Property lines can be determined by a surveyor examining the land and referencing any deeds or records related to the property. If property lines can not be determined from the current deed, a property survey is the most accurate way to determine where the actual property lines are.

Other information, like city and county data on zoning, topography, and other physical features, can also help determine how these boundary lines are drawn up.

Property owners who have any questions or disputes about their property should always consult a professional surveyor or attorney for the most accurate understanding of the property’s boundaries.

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How to find property lines?

Finding and knowing your property lines should be one of the first steps in becoming an informed homeowner. After all, this would be your land to upkeep and pay yearly taxes. 

A somewhat obvious way to find property lines is to look for boundary markers. 

If it’s a new property, there will likely still be stakes in the ground marking the land boundaries. Even on older properties, these can sometimes be found, although you may have to move some brush or take a closer look.

Knowing exactly where your property lines begin and end is a great way to avoid any potential disputes with neighbors or even town or state land. 

In some cases, you may have to go to court to settle boundary disputes should other neighbors disagree on exactly where the property lines lie. 

If there are no clear boundary markers and you need to learn where your property lines are, you’ll want to consult the legal description of the property, which can usually be found in your deed or local records office. 

If the current deed isn’t clear, refer to an older deed to gather more information. However, the older a deed is, the more likely it is to have references to property features or landmarks that no longer exist. 

Past deeds may have used natural markers that have been moved or have disappeared. In other cases, deeds can contain property names or owners that are no longer relevant as references.

If the description isn’t crystal clear, enlisting a surveyor might be a smart move. They’ll visit your property and measure it using advanced tools for pinpoint accuracy. 

They can perform a property line survey, which is a precise measurement of a property’s legal boundaries. This survey can solve legal disputes between neighbors and help when conducting property improvements such as building a fence.

Why is it important to know the location of your property lines?

Knowing your property lines is incredibly important, almost just as much as knowing where your home’s boundaries are. By understanding the exact bounds of your property, you can protect yourself against unsuitable property and overstepping on your neighbors.

If you know the location of your property lines, you can feel confident in interactions with nearby homeowners by having a clear idea of the property that is under your care. 

For example, if a tree needs to be trimmed or a tree falls on one property over to the other, it’s important to know who is responsible for the potential damages and expenses.

Moreover, it helps avoid legal and monetary problems related to owning land or a house. Unexpected events such as construction projects or new pathways can suddenly sprout up issues if there is disagreement over whose land the improvement is on. 

Property improvement

Knowing the precise boundaries of your land will also help you determine if certain improvements or activities on your property are legal according to local laws and codes. 

It’s common for homeowners to want to make improvements and additions over the years. And because improvements such as sheds, fences, and water features usually have certain requirements for requiring a certain distance away from neighbors, knowing where your property ends is necessary for the projects.

Taking just a little bit of time at the start of your homeowning experience to understand these boundaries may save you from an expensive headache in the future. 

Secure your property with GO Mortgage

Armed with this knowledge on property lines, you can now be an informed homebuyer and property owner. 

Whether you decide to ask your seller, look at the deed, consult with a surveyor, or just keep an eye on potential disputes with your neighbors, remember that it’s all worth it in the end for peace of mind and stress-free land ownership.

GO Mortgage is your go-to mortgage lender to help you understand your options and secure the right mortgage for you. Get in touch today and start your process to homeownership.

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