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How to Locate Property Corners on a Parcel of Land

How a Record of Survey Can Help You Locate Property Corners

Hey everyone. Brian Freeman here. Hey, we’re out on a lot here in Middleton, Idaho. And today, we spent the day marking property corners on this lot. This is a piece of land that we have in escrow right now. I want to show you what a record of survey is and how this helped us mark the corners. Then I also want to show you how we mark the corners. Then I want to go and show you an encroachment that we found by marking the property corners.

Check with the Canyon County Recorders Office to See if a Record of Survey has Been Recorded

So the first thing is this record of survey. We got it from the Canyon County recorder’s office. During the negotiation with the seller, they had refused to mark the property corners. So before we said yes, what we did was we checked with the County Recorder to see if a record or survey had been recorded so we could determine if and when the property had been surveyed. This allowed us to determine if the property corners had been marked previously. We found that they had been and were marked within the last four years.

How to Use the Legend to Read a Record of Survey

The surveyor who surveyed the property found pins on the property corners already marked previously. The black dots on the record of survey are pins that the surveyor set himself. They found some pins, but they were in the wrong spot. So they set new pins, then recorded this record of survey. It is now recorded and shows where the pins are located. There is a legend on the record of survey that shows what the markings are. On the legend, you can see that these other ones are noted as half-inch rebar found. The pins used to mark the corners are half-inch by 24-inch rebar.

Always ask the Seller to Have a Licensed Surveyor Mark Your Property Corners

So before you agree not to have your property corners marked, if you’re buying land or even buying a home that has a lot of land, make sure you call the county and make sure that a record of survey has been recorded. Getting a record of survey completed is more costly than just having the surveyor come out and mark these pins for you or locate them if they’re already set. So we want to make sure that this record of survey is completed before agreeing to not having the corners marked by the seller if they’re refusing to do that.

Use OnX maps, The County GIS Maps, and a Metal Detector to Locate Existing Property Pins

Now I want to show you how we did this. You can use an app that we use for hunting or other outdoor activities called OnX maps or the county GIS mapping tool to see an aerial view of the land with an overlay of the property lines. Even using those tools, the lot lines were not shown in the exact locations. The lot lines were off by about 10 to 15 feet. So we grabbed just a simple, little metal detector, and we were able to locate the pin over here. 

What Do Property Pin Monuments Look Like & What Info is on Them?

We’re going to show you what this looks like. So we’re able to come in here, and you can see that this is the half-inch rebar, and it’s got a cap on it, and it is marked. It will have the surveyor’s name and a number identifying the location. The surveyor will put this cap on the rebar here to identify the location, and then they’ll put a stake in and flag it. And then the cool thing is that they will attach this wire to the rebar. The wire will typically have a flag on it as well. The wire helps you to find it with your metal detector. There’s a lot of farming here that happens in Idaho. 

So if the soil gets tilled up during farming, the wire will still be here, and you can locate that. So it’s nice to have that. And then we put in a stake and then flag it so you can see it. So, we found the pin with the metal detector. And then, from there, we had a starting point.

Pulling Measurements to Locate the Property Corners

So then what we did was we looked at this record of survey to see the dimensions. This dimension on this particular line is 238.00 feet. And then going this way is 279.26 feet. So what we did was we then took out a hundred-foot tape. Longer tapes make it even easier. And then marked a hundred feet, pulled another a hundred, go 200. And then we go 79.26 feet. And then we were able to get that metal detector out. And then we start checking that area again. We were able to find that other pin here. So we were able to mark six different pins today successfully. All the pin locations have been recorded on the record of survey.

Let's Look at an Encroachment we Found

So what I want to do now is walk over and show you the encroachment we found on this end of the property. It’s on the far end of the property here. And we’re going to look at that, and I’ll show you, just confirming, why you want to get your corners marked before you buy your land. So, all right, we’ll head on over there now.

The Neighbors Fence is Encroaching on our Property

All right. So now we’re over at the fence line that I was talking about. Now, I want to show you what we’re looking at on this record of survey. The property corner is on the other side of the fence. This is the fence line here, and it’s on the property that we just actually marked the corners on. So the neighbor’s fence is an encroachment on this property, and you wouldn’t know that unless you had the corners marked.

The Surveyors Narrative on the Record of Survey Identifies the Encroachment Caused by the Fence

The corner is just about two feet on the other side of the fence. Here’s that wire again, just like the other property corner. We dug this up earlier and saw the actual half-inch rebar pin there. So now that we have this, we can put the stake there to mark it. But what I wanted to show you here is this is the record of survey. And you can see here that this is called the surveyor’s narrative. This tells us right here that they located a corner, which shows us they located a half-inch rebar pin here and that it was off the fence line. So you can see, they show the fence line here. And then they show the actual property line here as well.

The Legend of the Record of Survey Identifies the Fence Line and Gives Us Dimensions From the Fence to Property Corner

So you can see that’s over here on the legend that the property line has the dotted lines, and the fence line’s a straight line that goes across. It’ll tell you that. The surveyor’s narrative says that this particular pin is marked 1.68 feet on the other side of the fence. So that’s what we see there. This would be considered an encroachment on your property, so you definitely want to know this before purchasing your land. You can possibly resolve an issue with the neighbor ahead of time before you buy the land. Now we will walk up top, and I want to show you that we have the exact opposite situation. The fence is on the wrong side of the line. We found the pin, it’s farther onto our property, and I want to show you that.

We Found that the Neighbors Fence is Not on the Property Line

All right. So now we’ve moved up to the Northwest corner. This is the pin here, and it’s 2.75 feet on this side of the fence. So this is our property, and this is the neighbor’s property. And he’s got his fence. You know, he could come over another 2.75 feet in this direction. So the fence is not in sync with the property line. So he can move his fence over, and we could talk to him about, “Hey, let’s get this fence straightened up. And then we could have this exactly where we want it to be.”

What is on the Plastic Caps for Property Corner Monuments

So what we did here to locate this is we knew by looking at this record of survey that there were 128.65 feet to that pin down below. We pulled that dimension up to here with our tape, and we were able to locate this pin with our metal detector again. So come in and look closer. And I’m going to show you this actual pin and the cap. So this was done by Skinner Land Surveying. That’s the company that did it, and this is the identification of the location. So this is just a plastic cap on top of that rebar that we were looking at earlier. And then we just put the stake in here to help identify the location.

The Neighbors Fence is Encroaching into the Road Easement

So another thing that I’d like to show you is if you can stand here, you can see this is the property line here. The neighbor’s property line is in line with this property corner going East to West. His fence line, you can see, is probably 12 feet or so past the property line into the 56-foot wide easement.

Make Sure Your Fence is Installed on the Correct Property Line

We only need a 20-feet wide road for this lot, so this will not be an issue. This is good to know because his fence line would have to move if you ever had to widen the road. So you want to make sure your fence line goes on your property line. So this is another thing to check on when marking the property corners.

Make Sure the Seller Marks the Property Corners

So to recap, if you are buying land, make sure you ask the seller to mark the property corners. If you are buying a house, do the same thing. You want to make sure you know precisely where those corners are located.

Wrapping Up

This is a critical step to ensure you do not have any issues, encroachments, or anything else on your property before closing escrow. So hope that was helpful. If you need help with building, buying, or selling your home or land, feel free to contact us. Have an excellent rest of your day.

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