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Surveying Your Own Land: Finding property markers saves your time, expense and trouble.

March 28, 2008
An eight-page Surveying 101 primer in Mother Earth News shows readers how to conduct research and locate their own property boundaries.


By Chris Huck
 
Finding property markers saves your time, expense and trouble.
 
Because I live in the country and have done some surveying, I am often being asked about property boundaries. The questions are varied: "How much does a surveyor cost?" "Can I do it myself?" "What equipment do I need?" "What do my property corners look like?" "What are the laws concerning surveying and property boundaries?" "Where are my property records?" People ask these questions, not from a desire to fence and post their land, but because of pride of ownership, the desire for knowledge, or - sometimes - to protect themselves from the threat of encroachment.
 
Take my friend up the road. For years, he had lived peacefully on his 20-acre farm. Then a smooth operator bought the property next door, and subdivision plans began looming on his boundaries. My friend ended up paying a surveyor $1,500 - just to ensure that the new neighbor's ambitions wouldn't include any of his farm.
 
A thin line separates the smooth operators of this world from those of you who prefer to live and let live - the boundary line of your property. Your right to build or farm, your right to live on land the way you see fit, even your family dog's right to roam at will - all stop at that line. This article will tell you everything you need to know to find it, on the ground . If the thought of doing your own surveying scares you, don't worry. You don't have to be a genius to find your property boundaries - just a detective.
 
Knowing how to find your own property markers can save you time, expense, and trouble. But be aware that there's a big difference between finding established lines and setting new ones (or adjusting incorrect old ones). Only a licensed surveyor is legally qualified to set or move lines.