Real Estate Realities

Knowing your boundary lines

Boundary lines define the points where properties begin and end. These boundaries are used when installing features such as walls, fences, pools and other home additions.

Having a good understanding of your home’s boundary lines is a very important part of being a homeowner. Knowing where your property begins and ends can prevent potential unpleasantries or legal disputes with your neighbors. It can also ensure that you’re respecting your neighbor’s privacy and space. It’s important to note that an unknown boundary line encroachment could result in title issues in the future.

It is crucial that you are aware of your rights as a homeowner, especially when it comes to boundary lines. These disputes are the cause of many neighborhood arguments and can be easily resolved with a bit of knowledge. While locating boundary lines may seem like an overwhelming task, there are many easy ways a property owner can evaluate theirs. The most renowned way is to acquire a survey.

A boundary line survey is a precise measurement of a land’s legal boundaries. If a survey is not already included with the property deed, you can hire a professional surveyor to measure out where your property ends and where your neighbor’s property begins. Land surveyors will also research the property’s history regarding things like easements and governmental restrictions. Your mortgage lender will usually require a new survey be done upon the purchase of your property.

Another way to evaluate your boundary lines is by looking for property line markers. Some line markers include stakes, which would have been placed when the property was first divided. You can also take a look at the property’s deed. The deed is a legal document about your property which should have a worded description of your land boundaries. Although there are many ways to locate your boundaries, the best and safest way is through a professional surveyor.

If, for any reason, your neighbor would like to build a fence on the boundary line between your two homes, it is important that both parties are aware of the necessary laws and regulations. A fence built directly on the boundary line may result in a joint responsibility of the fence between the two neighbor’s, including cost and maintenance.

It is always important to know your rights pertaining to boundary lines. If you are struggling to find your home’s boundary lines, utilize one of the aforementioned strategies, or contact a legal or real estate professional who can further assist you. It is best you do what you can to make yourself aware of your boundaries, respect your neighbor’s property and avoid any legal disputes.

• William Wong is a two-term president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, two-term president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association and a partner at Darville-Wong Realty. He is also a former president of the Rotary Club of South East Nassau and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of West Nassau. E-mail: williamuwong@gmail.com.

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