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  #1  
Old 12-09-2009, 06:47 PM
pabstist pabstist is offline
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What does it cost to get your yard surveyed?

Long story short, I had a huge disagreement with my neighbor today (brought on by other things). He said my fence was too close to his garage, and he wants me to take it down. All of it. He didn't know exactly where the property line is, he just kept saying "about there". So now he wants me to take down a 12 foot long fence between our garages, even though he doesn't know exactly where the property line is.

As far as I know, the end of the fence is on my property, even though it is only 6" from his garage. And he even gave us verbal permission to put it up before hand 4 years ago.

The plat maps I have from when we bought the house 5 years ago are pretty useless, one map shows us having a square property, the other one shows having an L shaped property. According to one we own his garage, according to the other a different neighbor owns part of our backyard.

What does it cost to hire a surveyor to find one property line? And are his findings legally standing?

I am going to the town hall tomorrow to try to figure this out, but I fear we will have to pay to have a surveyor come out and figure out whom owns what and where the property line is.
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2009, 07:10 PM
enipla enipla is online now
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Look in your mortgage papers. You will likely find something called an ILC. An improvement location certificate. It should be a small ‘map’ of your yard and the improvements on it. And may point out any monuments that were used to create it. It may also show your neighbors shed.

Wait….. Upon re-reading your thread….. Plat maps? Do you not know where the property lines are (at least more or less).

How big is this property? You don’t know if it’s L shaped? A county or city GIS web site should at the very least show you that.
I think it would be up to your neighbor to prove that you are encroaching on his property.

I would relax a bit. He seems like he is being a bit of a nut

Enipla
GIS.
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2009, 07:28 PM
Xema Xema is offline
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Your first step should be a visit to the proper Registry of Deeds, typically located in the town that is your county seat. There you can obtain copies of your deed (which you most likely already have) and his.

Within these will be a description of the bounds of each property. You should check that the description of the relevant common property line is consistent in both. It's possible that this line is tied to easily found markers or monuments (e.g. a pin mostly buried in the ground) - if so, it may be easy to determine where the line actually runs, and to convince your neighbor.

If not, a surveyor's services may be needed. It's unlikely this would cost less than a few hundred dollars.

If your neighbor is the one complaining, why not leave the problem to him: "Of course I'll move my fence if it's on your property - but you'll need to show me as I really think it's on mine."
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:37 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by Xema View Post
If your neighbor is the one complaining, why not leave the problem to him: "Of course I'll move my fence if it's on your property - but you'll need to show me as I really think it's on mine."
I agree with this. If he proves that your fence is on his property yes you will have to move it. But if he does not prove it is on his property why move it? For your own piece of mind do as above suggested, go to county and get the registered deed.
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  #5  
Old 12-09-2009, 08:15 PM
TurboNuke TurboNuke is offline
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my survey cost $800 this is in NY
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2009, 08:18 PM
fisha fisha is offline
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You can also use a metal detector to try to find the stakes. But as others have mentioned, put the burden on the neighbor; he's the one with the problem.

To answer the question, it typically starts at around $500 and goes up from there.

Last edited by fisha; 12-09-2009 at 08:19 PM..
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2009, 09:11 PM
Civil Guy Civil Guy is offline
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Realistically, it depends on how much work the surveyor needs to do to establish the property line, which in turn depends on how good the records are and how trustworthy and findable any existing monuments are. Some of the records are not typically requested by the public, such as records for miscellaneous reference points possibly set by other surveyors through the years. The thing is, the surveyor knows what he or she is looking for, how to ask for it, and what it means when he or she finds it (or not).
When its done, if any official records need to be updated, the surveyor will take care of that, and you'll be able to show your neighbor the monuments. For that, it might make things that much easier for when and if the property is ever sold.
There's no harm in calling a surveyor or two to discuss the project, see what they say. If you go this way, hire the surveyor you're comfortable with, even if it costs a few more bucks. The extra bucks will be worth it.
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2009, 09:17 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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A co-worker in Chicago had her propery surveyed back in 2002 and it cost her $500.00 plus some additional charges.

But unless you're totally strapped, I'd get it done regardless. You got a jerk for a neighbor and it's only gonna get worse. So get it done, and be done with him. In fact I'd put up a higher fence or put slats in my fence if it's a chain link type.

You know the old saying "High fences make good neighbors."
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  #9  
Old 12-09-2009, 09:34 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
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Sounds to me like your neighbor is bluffing; these kinds of petty false-property-line-threats are all too common. If he doesn't know where the actual property line is he (more specifically the town) can't force you to do anything. He'll have to prove where it is by hiring the surveyor himself; anything short of that is a non-issue. And he's not going to hire one if his garage is really only 6 inches from the apparent property line; there are minimum setbacks for garages from the back and sides of a lot. They vary somewhat, but are usually at least a couple feet or more. So he'll be the one who has to move his garage if it's too close to the property line and/or go through a bunch of expensive time-consuming paperwork and negotiations with the town's site planners.

Do nothing, and don't spend a dime. He'll run out of steam real fast once he realizes the above (if he doesn't already know). It's always fun to laugh at morons like that a couple weeks after they completely drop the issue and start acting really nice (knowing you've got something on them).
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2009, 12:01 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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just did a complete survey of a 0.5 acre suburban lot w/complex shape & topographt. Cost $350 including a detailed map plan & new permanent markers @ all corners.

turns out neighbor's driveway is partly on my landd, as is his wife's prized flowrr gardenn. good thing we' pals.

sorry for crap typing; using pda

Last edited by LSLGuy; 12-10-2009 at 12:02 AM..
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  #11  
Old 12-10-2009, 12:09 AM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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$700 and you have to take it to City Hall and get it registered, which they will not do if you need encroachments approved (your mileage may vary). In a property line dispute, I think this is pretty much guaranteed to be your first step in the battle.
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:55 AM
GaryM GaryM is offline
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Consider that he may tear down the fence himself and then it may be up to YOU to prove that it was on your property.

Spend the money and get it settled. At least one of you will sleep better.
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  #13  
Old 12-10-2009, 08:52 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmiiikkkeee View Post
Sounds to me like your neighbor is bluffing; these kinds of petty false-property-line-threats are all too common. If he doesn't know where the actual property line is he (more specifically the town) can't force you to do anything. He'll have to prove where it is by hiring the surveyor himself; anything short of that is a non-issue. And he's not going to hire one if his garage is really only 6 inches from the apparent property line; there are minimum setbacks for garages from the back and sides of a lot. They vary somewhat, but are usually at least a couple feet or more. So he'll be the one who has to move his garage if it's too close to the property line and/or go through a bunch of expensive time-consuming paperwork and negotiations with the town's site planners.
This is unlikely, unless it's a brand new garage. Towns IME rarely if ever force someone to move an old structure because it doesn't meet current setbacks. If it's over the line, it's a completely different story, but just being too close generally doesn't merit a forced demolition/relocation, especially for residential structures.
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2009, 08:56 AM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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Cost largely depends on the closest official survey marker they can use. My last house had a town maker on the property. Cost wast like 400 bucks. For my fathers house the surver mark was at the end of the street a mile away cost was closer to 2500.

Make him prove it.

As the fence is within 6 inches of his garage your likely on the losing side of the argument. Many towns and states have laws requiring enough space on the opposite side of the fence for maintenance sometimes as much as 2 feet.
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  #15  
Old 12-10-2009, 10:11 AM
This_Just_In... This_Just_In... is offline
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Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Cost largely depends on the closest official survey marker they can use. My last house had a town maker on the property. Cost wast like 400 bucks. For my fathers house the surver mark was at the end of the street a mile away cost was closer to 2500.

Make him prove it.

As the fence is within 6 inches of his garage your likely on the losing side of the argument. Many towns and states have laws requiring enough space on the opposite side of the fence for maintenance sometimes as much as 2 feet.
This is true, but checking the side yard setback is not something a building inspector normally would do. Without locating the property pins, it is no easier for the building inspector to know exactly where the property line is then the homeowners. And the builder may have made the mistake, sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes not. In the city I work at we just found out about a contractor who recently built an attached shed addition onto a house that went out so far as to touch the fence. Any contractor should know that this was clearly wrong, but he clearly did not care.

At six inches, it is very possible that the neighbors garage was build too close to the property line. For survey on the cheap, try borrowing a metal detector and finding the corner stakes.
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  #16  
Old 12-10-2009, 01:48 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
This is unlikely, unless it's a brand new garage. Towns IME rarely if ever force someone to move an old structure because it doesn't meet current setbacks. If it's over the line, it's a completely different story, but just being too close generally doesn't merit a forced demolition/relocation, especially for residential structures.
Hence my saying ...and/or go through time consuming paperwork and negotiations. I listen to my town's planners argue such matters with people over the phone endlessly in the next office. Last summer a new house got built a few blocks from me; after the basement had been poured the inspector noticed it had been made a few inches too close to the property line. No he didn't have to move it but the owner had to de-design that whole side of the house to comply with some different set of standards dictated by the county. I don't know the details bu it added several months to his project. True you won't usually have to move an old structure, but the planners aren't going to just shrug and let it pass - they WILL make you do something about it (usually costly and inconvienient).

I still say make the accuser prove his case and spend his money. Until he does his threats are just bluff.
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  #17  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:13 PM
pabstist pabstist is offline
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The situation with the fence is weird. Our garages are along the sidewalk, but the garage doors face away from the road, and are 12 feet apart. The fence is between them along the sidewalk, to block off a shortcut some people were using our yards for.

I do have a metal detector and would go out and try to find the pins, but we just got a foot of snow. Which led to this dispute.

He plowed the snow from his driveway in between the garages and up against the fence, and up against our garage. So, he basically plowed a 30 foot strip of my lawn. Over the garden, even. This is the first time in 5 years since we moved in.

I figure that even if we each own half of the land between the garages, he could feel free to plow on his part, but his dump truck is way wider than 6 feet!

The fence thing came out of nowhere after I asked him not to do that again. Like 20 minutes later, not related to what had happened, with no reason. I figure I'll look into surveyors and wait and just hope it blows over.
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  #18  
Old 12-11-2009, 12:29 AM
movingfinger movingfinger is offline
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It's possible for both the garage and the fence to be legal, depending on your city's building and planning codes.

I am working on designing an addition in Los Angeles County (mind you, that is not the city of Los Angeles, which has its own codes). I can build a garage right on the property line if it is at least 75 feet back from the front property line, is six feet from the house on the same lot and has one-hour rated fire walls for the first five feet from the property line.

Every jurisdiction has different views as expressed in their planning and building codes and guidelines.

A word about surveyors' monuments. These are little nickel-sized washers driven by a nail into the street or side walk by a surveyor. They contain the surveyor's license number so he can be contacted, if still alive and in business, Usually these mark one of the corners of the lot, but not always. The survey can say the monument was set two feet north of the lot corner, for example, for a variety of reasons.
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  #19  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:46 AM
elbows elbows is offline
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You have not mentioned how old your home or subdivision is and that can come into play.

When we moved into our 100+ yr old home we had a weirdo neighbour who freaked out because I hung a gate to contain my dog. (Complete nonsense, no matter who built the fence both parties are allowed to hang gates, lights, flowers, lean things against it etc.)

I went to city hall, they advised I get it surveyed. As it happens I knew a guy who worked for such a company, mentioned it to him and he said, "Don't bother, let me look into it!" I ended up with a survey by default. My neighbourhood, being so old, had already been widely surveyed. He managed to dig up records of surveys for each of the properties that abut mine.

Voila, all the evidence I could ever require with no cost to me.

It may prove cheaper, depending on the age of your community, to hire someone to search the records than to go out and hire a surveyor. Check it out, it surprised me and cost me not a penny!
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:52 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by elbows View Post
You have not mentioned how old your home or subdivision is and that can come into play.

When we moved into our 100+ yr old home we had a weirdo neighbour who freaked out because I hung a gate to contain my dog. (Complete nonsense, no matter who built the fence both parties are allowed to hang gates, lights, flowers, lean things against it etc.)

I went to city hall, they advised I get it surveyed. As it happens I knew a guy who worked for such a company, mentioned it to him and he said, "Don't bother, let me look into it!" I ended up with a survey by default. My neighbourhood, being so old, had already been widely surveyed. He managed to dig up records of surveys for each of the properties that abut mine.

Voila, all the evidence I could ever require with no cost to me.

It may prove cheaper, depending on the age of your community, to hire someone to search the records than to go out and hire a surveyor. Check it out, it surprised me and cost me not a penny!
Off line but I think a funny story. The ranch had been in my family for over 100 years. Each property around it had its own survey. Around 1966 the property next to ours sold. They had it surveyed, went to court and had theirs recorded as the official and from that time on true survey. Moved the back corner 10 feet over. Which ment by what was now recorded at the county our back corner fence lines did not meet.
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  #21  
Old 12-11-2009, 01:43 PM
astro astro is online now
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Unless you want the satisfaction there is nothing that compels you to do any fence removal unless he pays for a survey and proves it is on his property. A simple residential survey is usually around $400 - $600. There are different types of lot surveys with different detail levels, be sure (if you choose to survey) that the survey you get will specifically address the fence issue.

As others mentioned look in the county land records for both you AND your neighbor's house. There is likely to be a survey attached to one or the other with markers described. You also need to be sure that the encroachments (if there are any) are not so old that you are dealing with an adverse possession scenario (which may help you or hurt you).

The upshot is that little research can probably solve the question without the need for new survey.

Last edited by astro; 12-11-2009 at 01:44 PM..
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  #22  
Old 12-11-2009, 02:16 PM
KCB615 KCB615 is offline
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I put up a 200' or so fence on my property line over the summer, and had it surveyed prior to putting the fence up. The engineer had done a neighbor's yard, so he had points nearby to pull off of. Total cost was $800 for five or six stakes, and the research/reconstruction of the lot dimensions (rods and chains measurements off of no longer existant stone walls and trees). I did not have any monuments placed by the engineer, he claimed that if he puts a monument down he is responsible for it forever, so he charges $1000 per marker. I put my own in where he sank the stakes.

Interestingly enough, he suggested I put the fence 18 inches inside of the line he gave me, based on stone wall distances on one side of my yard and the other side of a neighbor's yard. I have 190' of frontage, my neighbor has 90'. The stone walls (which are essentially inviolate property markers) are 279' apart, leaving one of us a foot short. His statement was that should there ever be a dispute of my neighbor's yard, the court would award my neighbor a foot-wide swath and deduct it from my side, putting my fence in my neghbor's "new" yard if I had put it on the line. Having a surveyor/engineer with the knowledge to look ten or 20 years down the road to see possible disuputes was well worth the $800.
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  #23  
Old 12-12-2009, 01:12 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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After reading this thread, I have a new understanding for why the City of Calgary requires Real Propert Reports to be provided with each sale of real estate.
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  #24  
Old 12-12-2009, 07:03 PM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
j. . . Cost $350 including a detailed map plan & new permanent markers @ all corners
I've known that rebar stakes are not the best marker for surveying a lot, since they tend to get hit with things, neighbors move them, or they get covered up or shifted.

What do you use for permanent markers?

I'm curious, because my neighbors ignorantly cling to them as die-hard no-sh*t permanent markers--having done construction (but not surveying), I know how easy it is to accidentally bump, shift, or otherwise lose a known point. But for ease in subdivisions, rebar is pretty ubiquitous.

Tripler
Just curious.

Last edited by Tripler; 12-12-2009 at 07:04 PM..
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