MontCo Fence Blog

Do I Need a Property Survey Done To Put In A Fence?

Monday, August 24, 2020

Homeownership comes with many benefits and many hidden decisions you'll have to make. For instance, you may decide to install a pool and a privacy fence to make your yard more comfortable. This decision comes with performing a property survey and consulting the right contractor.

In this article, you'll discover what a property survey is and when you need to perform one.

What is a Property Survey?

A property line survey is a sketch diagram that shows the land you legally own from an aerial view. It details the property's dimensions and, at times, the utilities, typography, and any alterations to the property.  

A property survey can identify:

  • Visible water streams such as lakes, wells, and streams
  • Property improvements or alterations
  • Legal and zoning ordinances
  • Access ways to the property
  • Property easements
  • Old burial grounds

The last of these is rarer but still occurs in rural areas.  

When to Do a Property Survey

Property surveys aren't usually legally required but mortgage lenders may request them before issuing a home loan. Having a survey done can prevent property disputes down the road. Discovering you have more than you initially believed can raise the resale value of your home. 

Always consult a property surveyor if you have any of the following circumstances:

Concerns of Right-of-Way or Property Easements

Property easements or right-of-way refers to property that is shared by you and your neighbor. This can be a driveway, walkway, or road. You may be the owner of the property but a right-of-way means your neighbors have access to it. 

Easements are important to identify because you can be legally obligated to maintain the property if it affects your neighbors. 

New Construction or Putting Up a Fence

New construction erected by accident on your neighbor's land may lead to your legal obligation to remove it. This includes fences installed on or over the property line. Without a property survey for fence installation, you can inadvertently install a fence that is now jointly owned. You may even lose ownership of that portion of your fence.

Conversely, if your neighbor installs a fence on your land, you could lose that land if it goes undisputed for several years. A well-made fence lasts several years and in that time you could be giving up property through adverse possession.

A survey can tell you if any improvements to your property are in violation of local laws. It can also inform you of zoning restrictions that dictate legal ways you can use your property.

Buying an Old Home or Home on an Undefined Lot

Old property goes through many changes throughout the years. Some homes may even have existed before new, stringent property laws were in place. In large cities, properties are typically well-defined. Many HOA's have requirements for property concerns such as installing fences at boundary lines.

Properties lines in rural or suburban areas may not be as well-defined. 

Property Line Survey Cost

A land survey usually costs around $500 but can range anywhere from $100 to $900. The amount you pay depends on the size of the land and its geography. Ask people in your neighborhood for referrals to a good surveyor. Get quotes and references from at least three before deciding on the person for the job. 

Set Your Boundaries

People dismiss land surveys because of the added expense. Unless you live on new construction, don't take the real estate agent's word for it. A property survey can prevent potentially costly mistakes or even loss of acreage.


Most fences can be installed in about a week. Contact us today for a free quote.

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