Sometimes it's worth it to hire a land surveyor

   #1  

Jstpssng

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I work for a forest management company with land all over the northern half of Maine. This includes several thousand miles of property lines varying from newly spotted and painted to non-existent. I consider myself pretty good about finding old lines and knowing when they are in the right place... I won't honor an old line if I'm not confident it's right.

A couple of months ago an abutter contacted us and said that he didn't feel our line was in the right place. The forester in charge went out and visited him but it appeared he was basing his opinion merely on the tax maps... which are notoriously inaccurate. Still, we agreed to cost share a survey before we ever planned harvest activity. Recently I was reading deeds while helping decide if another tract in that same town needed a survey (it does) and started perusing his. It took me several days of reading until my eyes crossed as there were so many problems with his description; his land had been sold several times in the last 80 years there were originally 3 different parcels combined to one; and every time a transfer was done a bit more was left out of the description. Finally though I realised that what he was saying was right and went out for a site visit in hopes of a quick remedy. (I even brought my axe and paint.) As soon as I saw the post we called our corner I realised that I need to call in the cavalry- AKA a licensed surveyor. That shade of orange paint hasn't even been made in almost 50 years; it's been that long since the lines were right. It wouldn't surprise me if they've been wrong since the original lot was carved out just after WWII. We had no way of knowing, as we were just going by old, vintage evidence.

Everybody can tell you where your lines are; your neighbor, the previous owner, the realtor; yet if you aren't proficient at reading deeds, a good surveyor is the best person to talk to.
 
   #2  

Hay Dude

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I work for a forest management company with land all over the northern half of Maine. This includes several thousand miles of property lines varying from newly spotted and painted to non-existent. I consider myself pretty good about finding old lines and knowing when they are in the right place... I won't honor an old line if I'm not confident it's right.

A couple of months ago an abutter contacted us and said that he didn't feel our line was in the right place. The forester in charge went out and visited him but it appeared he was basing his opinion merely on the tax maps... which are notoriously inaccurate. Still, we agreed to cost share a survey before we ever planned harvest activity. Recently I was reading deeds while helping decide if another tract in that same town needed a survey (it does) and started perusing his. It took me several days of reading until my eyes crossed as there were so many problems with his description; his land had been sold several times in the last 80 years there were originally 3 different parcels combined to one; and every time a transfer was done a bit more was left out of the description. Finally though I realised that what he was saying was right and went out for a site visit in hopes of a quick remedy. (I even brought my axe and paint.) As soon as I saw the post we called our corner I realised that I need to call in the cavalry- AKA a licensed surveyor. That shade of orange paint hasn't even been made in almost 50 years; it's been that long since the lines were right. It wouldn't surprise me if they've been wrong since the original lot was carved out just after WWII. We had no way of knowing, as we were just going by old, vintage evidence.

Everybody can tell you where your lines are; your neighbor, the previous owner, the realtor; yet if you aren't proficient at reading deeds, a good surveyor is the best person to talk to.
Related, but in a much smaller scale:
My wonderful “I have arrived” neighbor who moved next door about 5 years ago keeps conveniently cleaving off my property and landscaping it to his hearts delight. My favorite touches of theirs is the old “plant bushes with mulch beds in my lawn” technique, followed closely by the “plant bamboo 10’ from my driveway and let it bend over onto my cars when it snows” technique.
Man I need a surveyor
 
   #3  

oosik

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Out here most all property surveys were by a government surveyor. Meets/bounds survey to establish a homestead. The survey on my 80 acres was done in 1892 and is a one page, verbal, meets/bounds description. It's a simple rectangle - 1320 x 2640.

My father bought the property, for cash, in 1939. He was able to find the four corners - no bank was involved - no need for a survey.

However - if I ever sold and a bank was involved - I'm sure a current survey might be required.

Over the years, three of my four property corners have been confirmed by modern surveys. Land sales of adjoining properties. The forth corner is smack, dab in the middle of a big lake. I don't care about that corner.
 
   #4  

fried1765

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Related, but in a much smaller scale:
My wonderful “I have arrived” neighbor who moved next door about 5 years ago keeps conveniently cleaving off my property and landscaping it to his hearts delight. My favorite touches of theirs is the old “plant bushes with mulch beds in my lawn” technique, followed closely by the “plant bamboo 10’ from my driveway and let it bend over onto my cars when it snows” technique.
Man I need a surveyor
Glyphosate sprayed, will take care of the bamboo issue!
 
   #5  

oosik

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Man, am I ever glad to be out in the country. My closest neighbor - miles away. The only thing that ever "violates" my barbed wire fence line - the neighbors spring calves. Mama always brings them back with gentle calling.
 
   #6  

MoKelly

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Related, but in a much smaller scale:
My wonderful “I have arrived” neighbor who moved next door about 5 years ago keeps conveniently cleaving off my property and landscaping it to his hearts delight. My favorite touches of theirs is the old “plant bushes with mulch beds in my lawn” technique, followed closely by the “plant bamboo 10’ from my driveway and let it bend over onto my cars when it snows” technique.
Man I need a surveyor

Tree limbs growing over a neighbors property tend to usually cause issues.

As I understand the rules, if the limbs are over your property, you have the right to cut. However, the neighbors can/will get upset and claim your cuts damaged their trees.

My Dad had issues with neighbors and their large trees with dead branches over his fence and shed.

Sure enough, one storm came and the dead branch broke damaging the fence and shed.

The insurance companies fought it out and covered the damages.

MoKelly
 
  
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#7  
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Jstpssng

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By "Bamboo" do you mean Japanese Knotweed?Japanese Knotweed That's nasty stuff if it gets established. You can pour a concrete slab over it, and still have shoots grow out from underneath. It was planted as an ornamental for years and is almost impossible to get rid of, short of scorched earth chemical treatments.
 
   #8  

Hay Dude

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Man, am I ever glad to be out in the country. My closest neighbor - miles away. The only thing that ever "violates" my barbed wire fence line - the neighbors spring calves. Mama always brings them back with gentle calling.
Oosik, I AM in the country.
I only hve one close by neighbor and it’s this jackass piker. Rest of my neighbors are great.
 
   #9  

California

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Here's an old thread nearly identical to this one. My post shows a newspaper delivery tube that I nailed to a tree across the ravine. It's a 'witness monument' above a corner stake that had just been placed by a pro surveyor. I intended it to be visible from our side so I could point it out to my family.

Grandma of that clan had just had a survey done as part of her estate planning, to clarify her intended inheritances of various parcels over there.

What I didn't post in that old thread was that a week after I climbed through the poison oak jungle in the ravine to nail that newspaper tube to the tree, I met the Black Sheep grandson of the clan over there. He insisted the property line was the stream in the bottom of the ravine and the far slope was his to run his 4-wheeler on. He insisted that my newspaper tube monument was down at the creek so the far slope was his. I discovered he had moved my monument within a week after I placed it.

I phoned the surveyor for verification then went and painted a 16 inch tall white band around the tree over there where my newspaper tube had been. After I described the grandson's dishonest act, and argument, to another neighbor, word got back to Grandma and he quit riding his 4-wheeler in my ravine. Several years later he was found dead in bed and everyone said they were sure that was from his drug habit. Everyone remaining in that clan is good decent folks, good neighbors.


And a little farther down in that thread. A story I wrote about someone who sued the state over a property line issue and I was sent to hear his argument. The conclusion I wrote up was he had no loss, therefore his claim was pointless. I don't think he prevailed.

Actually that entire thread is interesting, for anyone interested in property surveys.
 
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