Although fencing, at first glance, may simply feel like yet another yard-improvement task like building a deck or installing a fountain, a fence can be more complicated. The main reason that fences get tricky is the fact that they often serve to define and delineate a border– specifically the border of your property and that of your neighbors’.
That’s why it’s important to understand the rules and regulations of fence-building in your area. Complications can cause conflict with your neighbors, difficulty in determining taxation and land use, and problems while you’re buying and selling the property. Even if there’s an existing fence already around your property, or that of your neighbors’, it’s important to carefully survey your property bounds before you embark on a fencing project.
Step One: Check your Deed
Your deed should include all important details about your property boundaries and any easements that have to be taken into consideration. Many deeds will also include a map delineating your property. However, sometimes the only way that a deed specifies property lines is through rather confusing language which could depend on outdated techniques of measurement. For example, it could say, “Four feet from the hickory tree stump,” but you’re not sure where the hickory tree stump is, or whether it still exists on your property.
So, if the language or specifications in your deed are still confusing, it’s time to check out different means for learning your property border.
Step Two: Check your County Assessor’s Website
Some county Assessor’s offices will have maps available on their website where you can access information about your neighborhood. Most places have already had official surveys done to determine where each property begins and ends, especially in relation to public property.
Step Three: Go to your County Assessor’s Office
If you can’t find an appropriate map for your area, try going into the office. They probably have more maps on file that haven’t been uploaded. Additionally, they might have some information about your property and its history that isn’t available as readily. Lastly, the Assessor’s office can give you more information about surveying your property or hiring a surveyor if there aren’t existing records.
Step Four: Hire a Surveyor
If none of the previous steps give you the answers you need about your property lines, it might be time to hire a surveyor. Surveyors are licensed to determine property lines and boundaries with authority that will stand up in court if you ever have to defend your lines. You can be referred to a reputable surveyor by your Assessor’s office.