Know Your Boundaries

Whether it is an industrial, commercial, or residential property, the location of the property boundary is one of first things an owner should know.

Have you ever wondered exactly where your property boundaries are? 

Many people who own property do not know where their property ends and their neighbors begins. They tend to rely on hearsay from others (i.e. former owners, neighbors, or realtors) who inform them of the boundary limits. ‘The corner is over near that tree’, ‘There was a marker near that bush but I dug it out when I planted it’, ‘I was told the corner is the utility pole’, ‘I have just followed the mow line,’ are all very common answers when someone is asked where their boundaries are located.

Why should I be concerned about knowing my property boundaries?

A couple reasons to know your property boundaries is to ensure when things are constructed or placed, that they built on the property they are intended to be on. Another reason is maintenance; most people don’t like maintaining their neighbors property.

Surveyors end up getting involved in many scenarios. A common one is fences – nothing like spending a lot of money to build a fence on your neighbor’s property. And no one likes giving their neighbor a free shed. We have even seen building expansions cross property lines that have to be partially removed and reconstructed.

Most municipalities do require a permit to make improvements to a property and the permits typically recommend a boundary survey, however, not everyone gets the survey.

What is involved in a boundary survey?

A boundary survey is the process to establish the limits of a property. It is very meticulous and only performed by licensed professionals. The steps typically are as follows:

Courthouse research – to obtain the current deeds for both the subject property and all of its adjoiners. Then the metes and bounds referenced in the deeds are plotted on a computer to determine the exact dimensions/shape that the property is intended to be. This will also determine if there are any conflicts with the metes and bounds of the adjoiners.

Fieldwork – a survey crew will search the subject property for any existing boundary evidence and based on what is found or not found, the crew will explore the adjoining properties for additional boundary evidence. All found evidence will be located.

Boundary determination – based on the information gathered by the survey crew, a Professional Licensed Surveyor (PLS) will evaluate the information and compare it to the courthouse research to determine/confirm the location of the property boundary.

Property marking 
– once the PLS has determined the property boundary, the crew will set permanent markers in the ground where no boundary evidence exists and mark all corners with a wooden lathe.

When should I get a boundary survey?

It is recommend that you should get a boundary survey completed if you don’t know exactly where their boundary limits are located. Additionally, anytime a property is bought/sold, subdivided, or goes through building improvements are all perfect scenarios to have a boundary survey completed.

How much does a boundary survey cost?

The cost can vary and is different for each project. Some factors considered in determining the cost of survey include:Location in relation the surveyors officeLot sizeTerrain or ruggedness of the landVegetative cover (i.e. wooded or open)Seasonal affects (i.e. snow cover, leaf density)Reason for the survey

If you are interested in knowing your boundaries, contact Nave Newell’s Survey Department Manager, Jim Aiken for a free estimate.

Call 610-265-8323 or email

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