Where is my property line?

The only real way to know where your property lines are is to have a survey. Not only will a survey show your property boundaries, it should detail other important features like flood plains, easements and structures.  In the city of Van Alstyne, surveys are done by lot and block but what if you are buying acreage in Grayson County?

This is where things get interesting. Acreage is not platted in neat little similar rectangles block by block.  Large tracts of land were subdivided over the years into smaller tracts and sold numerous times. Property lines can follow fences long since gone, change direction at trees now firewood or creeks that have changed course. Instead of lots and blocks, acreage is surveyed by the metes and bounds system. This is basically a point of beginning and then directions on which way to go and how far before changing direction and length again.  If all goes well, you end up where you started.

Sounds relatively simple, doesn’t it?  Every survey starts with what was known in the past, especially the POB or Point Of Beginning. You have to know where to start and where you are headed. Contrary to popular belief, there won’t necessarily be nice little metal and concrete markers at the tract corners.

This is an example of how confusing it can be based on a previous description.

(By permission of Susan Hawkins – USGenwebProject- rootsweb ancestry)

Dallas Morning News
30 December 1896

Defective Field Notes
Sherman, Tex., Dec. 29 – When one takes time to look back over the old deed records of Grayson county, and it is reasonable to suppose that the same character of entries are to be found in any of the old counties, the cause of endless litigation over indefinite lines is patent.

For instance, in the field notes of a tract of land transferred in the latter part of the forties an east line is described as running so many varas due south from a quid of tobacco ejected from the mouth of County Surveyor Newcomb. There is a lot now occupied by a handsome brick and stone structure the field notes of which give as a beginning point a bamber pole, which went the way of Newcomb’s tobacco quid two score years ago.

Recently an abstract tracing title to a piece of land in which the first field notes gave as a beginning point a stake in a dry ravine, then north with the meanders of the same to a post oak stump, thence east to an elm tree in the bed of a ravine, then south with the meanderings of the ravine to the corner of a fence, thence west to place of beginning.

The ravines are not names as tributaries of any creek at all, the tree is not said to be marked and the fence has probably been down for nearly half a century. But for the law making ten years peaceable possession the best legal ownership there would not be half the titles on record absolutely unclouded.

You can see the importance of having a property surveyed and why lenders and title companies don’t always accept a previous survey, especially a much older one.  They also require the seller to notarize an affidavit called T-47 acknowledging any new structures, fences, additions or other changes since the previous survey.

While modern methods increase accuracy, two different surveyors may come up with slight differences for the same property.  In some states, acreage is listed as MOL or More Or Less. If the exact area is of major concern, you can upgrade your title policy to include coverage for discrepancies.

For sellers, a current stamped survey and notarized T-47 will make your property more attractive by saving the buyer the survey cost and making it easy for the buyer, lender and title company to determine what is being paid for and its potential use.  For buyers, if a survey is not available you should have one done. You want to be sure you are getting what you paid for and know exactly where the property lines and easements are before starting any construction.

If you would like to buy or sell Van Alstyne real estate, land in Grayson or Collin counties or have real estate questions, call me at 469-233-1234.


About Keith Laursen

I am a Fathom Realty Realtor specializing in town and country properties in the cities of Van Alstyne, Anna, Melissa, Howe, Gunter, Tom Bean, Whitewright, McKinney and Plano, TX.

My trusty horse and I will help you "spot" the best in real estate. Remember, it can't sell if it's not spotted!
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