Knowing Your Boundaries — Why It’s Harder Than You Thought

Knowing Your Boundaries — Why It’s Harder Than You Thought IMG 3326 300x225As property values continue to rise, and a few inches can potentially mean thousands of dollars, the importance of accuracy in land surveys becomes even more critical. Oddly, there is not one universal set of rules as to how these surveys must be conducted. However, as in many professions, there are a set of standards known as best practices. While establishing the boundary of your property sounds like it should be a simple enough task, it can be far more complicated than you imagined.

Ever since humans left nomadic life behind, knowing the boundaries of a property has been essential. From the time of kings, any who owned a plot of land needed to know where exactly the boundaries were. They needed answers to questions: Where could they farm? What tribute did they owe the king? And many other such issues.

In feudal times, of course, the property boundaries often changed frequently. One feudal lord would rise and conquer, a week later another might be claiming that same land — obviously, a fair system delineating who had rights to what was needed.

Many a war has been fought over boundary disputes. Even now, such conflicts exist.

Land surveying is just measuring, isn’t it?

One of the reasons people are always so perplexed as to why their survey is so complicated is, they assume it is just a matter of measurements. Indeed, since the standardization of the imperial system of measures in 1824, it can’t be that complex? Latitude and longitude markings have been in existence for over 2000 years.

Unfortunately, latitude and longitude coordinates have not traditionally been used to mark property boundaries. And, the measurements used often involved non-permanent markers such as trees and rocks. Trees grow. Trees die. Trees are removed. Stones get moved. Many of the landmarks once used, marking the boundaries of your property have changed or moved. Even such natural barriers such as rivers and creeks alter course over time.

What steps will my land surveyor take to determine my property boundaries?

To most accurately find your property boundaries, your land surveyor will take the following steps:

1.     Gather and examine all documentation

Before ever stepping one foot on your property, your land surveyor will gather all historical documentation that gives evidence of where the boundaries were purported to be. Town records, previous surveys, developer records, and possibly even wills and other documents.

2.     Take measurements

Your surveyor will take a variety of measurements using specialized tools and even place some markers for the ease of future surveys.

3.     Prepare reports

Your surveyor will prepare reports delineating exactly where your property boundaries are in relation to markers, buildings, and other data.

4.     File reports

Your surveyor will file with the city and other powers that be to create a record that will establish your boundaries as well as make it easier for future surveys to determine the limits of your property set forth in this survey.


Land is a scarce commodity. Land can neither be created nor destroyed. For this reason, knowing the boundaries of your property is essential to protecting your investment. While better measurement systems are making their way into boundary surveys, at this time, it is crucial to use a reputable land surveyor such as Realsearch of Texas to protect your property rights. Learn more.