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How can you define property boundaries?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2021 | Real Estate Transactions |

In an age where satellites can pinpoint your precise location high in a remote mountain range, you would have thought defining your property lines would be simple. Yet, it is still one of the biggest causes of problems between neighbors.

If you see a property you intend to buy, commissioning a survey is crucial. Be sure that it includes a survey of your boundaries, so you can assess any issues before deciding whether to go ahead with the purchase.

If the issue has arisen with a property you already own, then it is important to examine paperwork such as property deeds for clues. Again, if you are in doubt, it may be wise to commission a survey.

Why is drawing a line on a map so difficult?

Nowadays it is possible to use satellites to create precise property boundaries. Yet, that was not always an option. In the past, it came down to someone with a tape measure and paper and pencil using landmarks to describe where a property began or ended. For example, this property starts 20 meters from the road and extends to the creek.

The problem is that land is not static, nor are the things on it. For instance:

  • The sea advances or retreats, taking land or creating it
  • Creeks change their course or disappear
  • A storm erases a landmark used to define your boundaries
  • Developers tear down existing structures and add new ones


Boundary errors can have a significant effect on your property’s value. If you are uncertain about the lines that define your property or one you are about to buy, the sooner you clear it up, the sooner you will have peace of mind. While some boundary disputes do end up in litigation, there are often simpler ways to settle matters. Finding out more can help you decide how to proceed.