Phillips & Angley

Should you trust the legal description on the deed to your land?

Where does your property end and your neighbor's property begin? Do you rely on the description in your deed to know where to put a fence line? What happens if that description is wrong? What if your property line isn't where you thought it was?

One wrong number or reference in a legal description can make a difference in the boundary of your land. Misinterpreting the description can be costly. If you find yourself facing a dispute about the boundaries of your property, you might invest in a survey to be sure what property you actually own. As an added benefit, a survey will more than likely provide you with more information than just the boundary lines of your property.

What else does a survey provide you?

Surveys often encompass more than just boundary determinations. You could also benefit from having information such as the following:

  • Does your property have any zoning restrictions? If so, what are they?
  • Are there any overlays, gaps or gores between your property and the property next to yours?
  • Is there sufficient ingress and egress to your property? Can large vehicles, including emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, get to your property from a public street?
  • Does someone else have a right-of-way on your property? Are there easements such as those granted to utility companies on your property?
  • Are there joint driveways, encroachments, overhangs, party walls, projections or rights-of-support attached to your property?
  • Do any improvements on your property, including structures, violate any laws?
  • Is there an old cemetery on your land?

This information can prove invaluable if you should end up in a dispute with a neighbor, utility company or someone else.

Using this information

Many neighbors have disputes regarding property rights. Land may be at a premium in the area of Massachusetts where you live, and every inch is valuable. Having a survey of your property may settle any such disputes before they even have a chance to start.

Some disputes end amicably, but others could end up in litigation. Before that happens, you may want to ensure that you have as much evidence as possible regarding your property. You may think that having a survey done might be too much, but when you consider the potential monetary losses you could face in court, you may change your mind. In addition, if you ever decide to sell your property, you can tell a potential buyer just what they will be getting with confidence.

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