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Know Your Boundaries

When buying or selling a property, it is important to understand your property lines. Knowing your lot lines will help ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.

Property lines are imaginary boundaries that divide one property from another. Sometimes they are clearly obvious and other times they are not. On occasion, they are marked by a boundary stone or a rod that has been placed into the ground.

Understanding property lines can be essential when fences are erected, swimming pools are installed or home additions are built.
How to find accurate property lines?

The best way of understanding the boundary lines for any property is to have a professional land survey completed. A property survey is completed by a licensed engineer engaged in the business of surveying land. A professional land surveyor will be responsible for locating landmarks on the property being surveyed. This includes anything from historical markers to natural features.

Not only will a survey show boundary lines, but also the size and dimensions of any other structure located on the property.

The front property line is the length of the land you own in front of your property – also called your frontage. The lot lines on the side of your property are called sidelines. The zoning in the community will determine these distances.

For example, you could live in a town where there must be 200 feet of frontage. To be considered for zoning as a building lot, the property must have at least a certain amount of frontage.

There are also permanent setbacks where a permanent structure cannot be built.

A mortgage plot plan is not the same as a land survey. When you are getting financing to purchase a home, a lender will provide what’s called a mortgage plot plan. The cost of this plot plan will be part of a buyer’s closing costs.

The drawing will locate the house and any other structures within the four corners of the lot. It should not be relied upon for making any kind of improvements. For example, if you want to install a fence, the bank plot plan should not be used as it is not accurate enough. Always get a land survey when making significant changes.

For more buying and selling information, visit www.gofirstam.com/education for your free buyer’s and seller’s guides.

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