Real estate and land ownership disputes can escalate quickly. For example, a man in the Seattle area threatened to shoot his neighbor when he mowed grass over their property line.

Hopefully, your situation has not escalated this far. But regardless of how much hostility exists, there are steps you can take to end the dispute.

So what can you do about a property dispute? You can avoid costly court fees and litigation this way. However, there are times when you have little choice but to have an attorney represent you. You can learn where you stand, and how to find your property lines after you read this article today.

What are Property Lines?

Property lines divide the land according to ownership. Some boundaries are actually straightforward and easy to recognize. For example, the sidewalk in front of a house likely belongs to the city. Or there could be fencing, ditches, or roads that are apparent divisions.

But there are property lines between homes that may seem insignificant. As a result, someone could encroach on their neighbor’s land when they build a shed or construct fencing themselves.

Property lines have distinct measurements that are in the deed. These boundaries result from where the municipal zoning department allows development. Accordingly, the local or county government should also have records and plans to document the division.

How to Find Your Property Lines

If you are in an ownership dispute with a neighbor, showing them the property lines is essential. Ideally, they will see that they are in the wrong and correct the situation.

But in some cases you may have to escalate to hiring a real estate lawyer, or perhaps a property dispute lawyer. The steps below will help you determine if you already need legal counsel.

Step 1: Read Your Deed

Your deed should contain the most updated details about the boundaries of your property. This legal description of your lot is something you can try to measure yourself. However, the language in this document may not be easy to decipher. After all there are titles and deeds which someone in this situation who is unexperienced may not be able to differ.

Step 2: Look at a Plat Map

Plat maps do more than show the distinctive features of your property. It documents the division of lots in your neighborhood. This is an essential step on the path of how to find your property lines. Each parcel has a designated number that shows how much separate sales give the landowner.

You would only have a plat map in your files under rare circumstances. Most individuals must go to the county assessor’s office to review it. Depending on where you live, you may have the option to access it through their website.

Step 3: Look for Survey Markers

Survey markers are a standard part of creating a subdivision. If you live in a recent development, the chances are good that you can find them. Most real estate developers and construction companies do not remove them when they finish their projects.

Older developments would use wooden stakes or stones that are unlikely to remain. But more recent builds will use brass discs or iron pins that you can locate. More often then not, they will have inscriptions with the surveyor’s certificate number or state license.

Finding these markers involves the use of a metal detector on the edges of your property. If you plan to dig for them, call the utility company first. You do not want to strike a gas or water pipe that can cause damage or put others at risk.

Finally, remember that survey pins may not be in the exact location described in your deed. These markers may have moved over the years, so you should confirm where they should be.

Step 4: Hire a Surveyor

Hiring a surveyor can remove all doubt if you do not feel confident in your assessment. However, taking this step typically costs a few hundred dollars. A more substantial property could cost thousands of dollars to complete a property line survey.

Depending on your motivations, having a professional surveyor map your plot can be necessary. Otherwise, building a fence or another addition to your house may not receive approval, and could face serious contention.

Do You Need Legal Help With Property Lines?

Disputes over property lines can take a property dispute lawyer, or a real estate attorney to unravel. They can help you with critical needs like interpreting the deed or filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, they have deep expertise in using the law to your advantage during negotiations.

We encourage you to call us at (866) 345-6784 or submit a request through our website. We can recommend an attorney in our network, even if you need one across state lines.

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