PROPERTY BOUNDARY ADVISORY
Your property is one of your most valuable possessions and a poorly written
description can readily
decrease its value. Encroachments, overlapping deeds,
and blocked road access are just a few of the things that can decrease the value of your property.
A professional Land Surveyor is the best qualified person to check land title descriptions through
actual land surveys and to write land title descriptions. Attorneys, title insurance companies, realtors, brokers, bankers, engineers and architects, know that property title descriptions, written by a professional surveyor based on accurate land surveys,
provide confidence as to the land’s boundaries. The accurate survey provides the information necessary to prepare the legal description.
The profession of land surveying is complex due to the necessity of correlating old records and practices with modern usage. This is especially true here in Oktibbeha County due to the old
practice of preparing vague land descriptions from a poorly performed survey or without the benefit of a land survey at all. Naturally, this leads to problems with different interpretations and opinions as to the exact location of a poorly described boundary
Often times, a property owner with a deed containing such a description
will engage a surveyor to survey his property because, neither, they, nor their adjoining property owner, are sure as to the exact location of the property line. The surveyor will then face one of three situations if he agrees to perform a boundary survey
of a poorly described property.
The first situation occurs when the location
of the property line can be determined with reasonable certainty. However, the landowners involved may want the boundary line to be placed at a different location. In this case, a proper document of title transfer must be prepared according to law. Most often,
a properly executed land survey will be required.
In the second situation,
the location of the record boundary is so vague that it cannot be reliably located with reasonable certainty from the information in the records or from information found in the field. In this situation, the surveyor should encourage the parties to agree on
a boundary location. There is no reason that the surveyor cannot take a leading role in preparing and documenting the boundary line agreement in this situation. Surveyors are not and cannot be judicial officers, but in a great many cases, they can prevent
boundary disputes by helping the land owners determine where their property lines should be as per their property descriptions, however poorly written.
The third situation involves a property line dispute that develops either before a survey is performed or as a result of a survey. The circumstances in a boundary dispute may vary but if carried
to court can be long drawn out, expensive and emotional. The surveyor certainly has a role in the resolution of these boundary disputes, but it is not to resolve the dispute. Their role should be to (1) attempt to make a proper determination of the boundary
lines and corners according to the intent of all the involved parties, (2) identify potential disputes either in the records or on the ground, (3) explain the facts, evidence and potential solutions to the client (and adjoiners if possible) and finally (4)
facilitate a mutually agreeable and legally sound solution with the agreement of all parties involved.
Most land owners are unaware of the procedures or options available to resolve boundary issues. They need information that only the surveyor can provide in order to find an intelligent solution to their problem.
I have learned in my years of practice that instead of simply documenting the conflicting evidence
in my survey, I can present the information to the adjoining landowners and assist them in developing a resolution for the conflict. I’ve also learned that, when given the opportunity, the vast majority of neighbors will work together to find an amicable
solution. When resolved together, they remain good neighbors and perhaps become friends, having jointly resolved an issue over their common boundary. Many times the best opportunity to resolve a boundary problem is across a barbed wire fence or at the kitchen
If there is any doubt or uncertainty about the location of a property
line, several things should be done before a land survey is performed. I suggest the following four items:
- 1. Have a surveyor research your deed and those of adjacent land owners to
there are no errors, overlaps, gaps or potential disputes.
- 2. If there are problems with the land descriptions, a meeting
with the adjoining landowner may resolve the issue without a survey.
- 3. Have the surveyor advise if you actually need a
survey. Sometimes a survey will not resolve the problem and can result in attorney fees and court cases.
- 4. If there is
a dispute or the possibility of a dispute, then the surveyor should
setup a meeting with all parties involved so the issues may be discussed and hopefully resolved
without resorting to legal means.
When a survey is justified and necessary,
any competent surveyor registered and licensed with the State of Mississippi, should be able to provide adequate service. Remember all surveys should always start at a well defined monumented point referenced
to the U.S. Public Land (GLO) Survey System or a recorded subdivision plat.
you have any questions concerning your property lines or your boundary survey, Please call me at 662 323-1800. Remember that defective land deed will only get worst with time.
Tom L. Gregory, PLS