You probably have a general idea of where your land begins and ends as a Waterloo Region homeowner. As a reference point, you might use your driveway, the edge of your yard, or a fence. But are you certain those are the legal boundaries of the property? It's possible that they aren't.
So, before you embark on any exterior renovations such as a garage expansion, fence replacement, pool installation, or landscaping improvements, take a step back and review your property's borders. You'll want to be able to enjoy your home or yard upgrades without disturbing property lines or causing problems with your close neighbours.
What are Property Lines?
During new home construction, property lines are required to identify where ownership of one plot of land begins and ends. The formal borders are established and marked by a surveyor. The new property lines are defined in a survey once the land is officially split.
The measured distance across the front of the property you own is known as your frontage, which is the property line at the front of your house. Sidelines are the property lines that go down the side of your plot. These distances are frequently dictated by local zoning restrictions.
Why are Property Lines Important?
Property lines exist to prevent one property owner from infringing on another's land or jeopardizing their privacy by constructing too near to their home. Tree limbs that grow past your property and overhang into a neighbour's yard, or a driveway poured to extend onto a neighbour's property, are examples of encroachment.
You can prevent mistakenly infringing on your neighbour's land if you know where your property lines are drawn. Property line information be beneficial to someone who wants to buy your house (more on that later.)
How to Find Your Property Lines?
If you are not sure where the 'real' invisible boundaries that make up your property lines really are, there are quite a few ways you can find out:
Hire a licensed land surveyor
Hiring a surveyor to determine your property lines is the most precise approach to know where your land begins and ends. The property surveyor will start by looking up the lot's history in legal records. Then they'll look into easements, subdivisions, and any other key elements that may have an impact on your property and what you do with it. The cost of hiring a qualified land surveyor ranges from $330 to $670 per survey, and it might cost up to $1,000 per survey depending on the location, size, and history of the property.
Review your property deed
A tax description of your property can be found in your property deed. The borders of your land plot are described in this tax description. Subdivision names and other geographical references that may or may not be in the location, such as a row of trees, are frequently mentioned in the description. For a fee, you can obtain a copy of your deed from your local recorder's office or online.
Check the metes and bounds survey
A metes and bounds survey identifies a landmark, such as a tree, waterway, road, or intersection, to determine the property borders. The POB stands for "place of beginning." After that, you can use a compass to follow the directions. Because it frequently cites landmarks that may no longer exist, this survey can be difficult to comprehend. For example, a property border could be described as “fifty meters from the tall maple” in the survey. That maple tree, though, may no longer be standing.
Read the property line map, or ‘plat’
When you purchase a home, you will almost always be given a plat or property line map. If you don't have one, you can get one at the local courthouse. The plat will show you your lot's actual size in relation to the other lots on your street. Expect to see similarly sized rectangles lined up on each side of the street for each privately held property on a residential street.
Ask for the property survey from your mortgage or title company
A property survey is usually required if you finance your house purchase through a lender. This means that a copy of the survey from the purchase transaction should be available to your mortgage provider. In addition, the title company will do a property search and may also have a copy of any completed surveys or property line maps for your property.
Why Property Lines are Important When Buying a Waterloo Region Home
As a homebuyer, be cautious of property lines as you move through the buying process. Before beginning various home upgrades, the previous owners may have neglected to account for property lines and may have encroached on a neighbor's property. Request a copy of the final survey from your lender; you may discover that the property is smaller than you anticipated. Alternatively, an encroachment issue could force you to renegotiate the contract or walk away entirely.
If you really like the house, a good compromise could be to agree on a boundary line after the purchase. A boundary line agreement is a legal contract that allows neighbors to resolve disputes over property lines and agree on property line usage without having to go to court.
Property lines can be found in a number of ways that are quick, simple, exact, and cost-effective, whether you own the property or plan to buy one. When purchasing a home or beginning any construction or landscaping project, be sure to gather accurate information on your property lies to avoid problems down the line.
Getting ready to buy a Waterloo Region home, or sell the one you own? Let Team Pinto use our huge experience and expertise to help you. Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here.