Fences should not be considered an indication of property boundaries. Legal property boundaries are demarcated by surveyor pins or stakes. These are typically 1/2″ to 3/4″ round iron pipes flush or buried slightly below land surface. Newer pins might have yellow or orange caps that indicate the surveyor’s license number.
Locating property lines can be challenging. Older surveyor pins tend to erode. Older property markers could be metal posts, rebar, pipes or car axles. Those having difficulty locating their surveyor pins, also called corner pins, should contact their city or county government and get a copy of their plat map.
A plat map will identify each specific lot located in a subdivision — as well as the shape and dimension of the lot — and where the surveyor pins are located.
If a plat map is not available, or no pins are found, the next step is to contact a registered land surveyor to locate the property lines and set new surveyor pins. The boundary surveyor will thoroughly research city and county records relating to the land and all adjacent property. After research, the field work begins, reconciling the research with the onsite analysis on the property to determine the final boundary lines.
Boundary surveys might also include property improvements, fences, power lines and any encroachments crossing the property lines. Costs of a boundary survey can vary depending on property size, terrain, vegetation, location and season.
A survey is strongly recommended before subdividing, improving or building on land. Building beyond property lines could result in being forced to alter or remove a structure, fines and lawsuits.