Jan 28, 2016
Thinking of Home Improvements? Why You Need to Know Your Property Lines
Before making any additions or changes to your home, it is important to make sure that the property you are improving actually belongs to you.
A fence or a hedge might currently separate you from your neighbours, but unfortunately these visual divisions often don’t line up with the legal boundaries of your property.
Invisible obstacles, like underground cables or drains, could also interfere with your plans for that extension or new sun room.
Finally, you might not be aware of easements or rights-of-way that give utility companies or other individuals the ability to access your land.
Whether you accidentally encroach on your neighbour’s yard or realize too late that your land extends beyond your new fence, having to redo a building project will cost you time, money and likely cause some unnecessary headaches.
This is why it is worth investing in a professional survey before you get started on your home improvements. It’s also the best way to protect your investments for the future as it will be much more straightforward to sell your home if the property lines are clear and respected.
By far the easiest and most accurate way to determine boundary locations is to hire a professional land surveyor. This also protects your investment as any future disputes will be the responsibility of the company.
Depending on the kind of work you wish carry out on your property, there are a number of survey options available for residential homeowners.
Boundary surveys are typically used during the subdivision process, and pinpoint features such as underground pipes. A real property report (RPR) is a legal document that outlines property boundaries and is particularly useful for homeowners who want to check that proposed improvements comply with municipal requirements.
It is possible to find property lines on your own, and if you are interested in going down this route check out the Alberta Land Surveyor Association’s tips for locating property boundaries. You can also use historic land survey records, although there is an element of risk in using old surveys.
By doing your research in advance, you may be able to save your surveyor time, which can in turn save you money.
- Check your records. When you purchased your home, did you receive a survey or a real property report?
- Do you know the location of any of your boundary markers? These 1m long metal pins mark the corners of your property. Make sure any known property lines are clear and unobstructed so the surveyors can access them as easily as possible.
- Ask your neighbours if they have a survey for their home that also shows some of your property lines.
Ready to take the first step in home improvement?
LN has worked with homeowners in Alberta on thousands of successful property reports, and offers custom surveying solutions at great rates.