Author Topic: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?  (Read 1836 times)

Apocalyptica602

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Hi all,

I recently built a home earlier this year (or had a home built rather). I'm looking to put in a fence, but initial research has determined that I need a boundary survey to determine my property corners. I started to get some quotes and I'm getting amounts ranging from $1000-2000 (!).

I have just under half an acre of non-wooded land and the property is pretty much rectangular, so I feel these amounts are a little egregious, and a significant portion of the actual FENCE cost.

I have a copy of the builder's site plan which is a scaled drawing from a professional land surveyor with a stamped seal from the state. This includes dimensions from the corners of my house to the property edges etc.

This seems to me like it would be sufficient and I don't need to pay ~1500 bucks for a survey that is just going to confirm this and pound stakes in the ground.

I figure I'd just measure myself and err ~1-2' into my property for placing the fence. None of my surrounding neighbors have fencing so I don't need to worry about connecting to theirs.

Is this as simple as I'm making it out to be? The whole concept of being sued for encroachment worries me but I'm not sure if this is one of those 'complainypants fear mongering' things.

Thanks for any advice!

Mgmny

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 08:21:09 PM »
Can you talk to your neighbor's and ask them?

Spray paint your plan, show your neighbor's, and if any of them get excited, pay for the survey to save money later. If they're chill shoot it, put up your fence!

Iplawyer

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 01:26:28 PM »
Pay for the survey now.  If you put the fence too far on your line and your neighbor starts using that few feet - they could create an easement over time or worse.  Obviously if you put it too far over the other way you will have worse problems.   Without the survey you are just begging for trouble and lots and lots of cost associated with that trouble in the future. And that is true even if you paint lines and your neighbors tell you it is okay.

NV Teacher

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2017, 01:57:41 PM »
Pay for the survey now.  If you put the fence too far on your line and your neighbor starts using that few feet - they could create an easement over time or worse.  Obviously if you put it too far over the other way you will have worse problems.   Without the survey you are just begging for trouble and lots and lots of cost associated with that trouble in the future. And that is true even if you paint lines and your neighbors tell you it is okay.

Having watched someone take down a fence to move it 14 inches I'd do the survey and know it's in the right spot from the get go.

Fireball

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2017, 02:27:36 PM »
Absolutely do the survey. Even if the current neighbors are cool with the placement, who knows if/when a new neighbor comes in.

Laura33

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 02:41:19 PM »
First, why do you say your research suggests you "need" a survey?  Is that some regulatory or HOA approval that is required?  If so, you may not have a choice.

Second, I agree with others that the survey is cheap insurance.  If you put the fence on your neighbor's property, they can force you to remove it; if you put it too far on your own, the neighbor may ultimately be able to claim title to that strip (or, at a minimum wrap you up in litigation over it).  In all likelihood, none of this will ever happen.  But fences tend to last for a lot longer than individual neighbors, so keep future-you-with-new-asshole-neighbor in mind as you make that decision.

I'd suggest talking to your neighbors -- who knows, they might even be willing to split the cost of the fence and/or survey if they have been thinking of doing the same thing.

katsiki

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2017, 03:12:11 PM »
Did you check all of your closing docs already?  You might ask the title company also.  I thought this was standard when you buy a home but maybe this varies by state.  I know when we bought a number of years ago the seller was ticked off that he had to get a survey (again) for some reason.  We got a copy of that survey.

geekette

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2017, 03:41:04 PM »
Odd.  Neighbors on both sides of us have fences that aren't on the property line.  The fences are for dogs, and they have plantings outside.  I don't think there's any way we could claim that space.  Why does the fence need to be on the line?

Northwoods

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 03:52:21 PM »
Option 1: call your builder and ask if they have a survey on file.

Option 2: walk your property to see if there are existing survey pins at the corners.

Option 3: get a new survey

trollwithamustache

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 05:29:41 PM »
First, check with your county if there is a survey map on file and make sure it matches yours. It probably does since the engineer usually copies over the autocad file from the surveyor and plunk the building on the drawings.

Is your builders plan certified by a surveyor or engineer? If its the engineer, the problem is that is where they were supposed to build the house, its doesn't actually tell you the location of your lot. (they could have build your house shifted a couple inches or feet from this location or more if he's a cowboy). The county map may have enough information for you to try to locate your lot.


This is how your survey ends up at 2k type numbers. The surveyor has to pull county records to find the right benchmarks (super accurate survey markers placed for this purpose) and measure your lot from the legal benchmarks, which may be a ways away. He may have to install a survey marker on the lot. (with his license number) Then he has to certify the map and file it with the county.  So... you may not want a survey, you may want him to "check a few things". It may take a few guys to find one to do something more informal and he may want to be paid first. I get the feeling surveyors get stiffed a lot and I've gotten much better service out of them after paying a few bills on time.

Talking to your neighbors is super important because, well, if you guys agree/happy/lovefest on where you think the property line is, the survey is less important.

MDM

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2017, 08:28:55 PM »
Option 1: call your builder and ask if they have a survey on file.

Option 2: walk your property to see if there are existing survey pins at the corners.

Option 3: get a new survey
Option 4: Don't install a fence.  Might make the neighbors happiest of all, particularly if said fence would break up a nice open vista. :)

Iplawyer

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2017, 10:28:16 PM »
Odd.  Neighbors on both sides of us have fences that aren't on the property line.  The fences are for dogs, and they have plantings outside.  I don't think there's any way we could claim that space.  Why does the fence need to be on the line?
Certainly if you fence off a much smaller pert of your property than the whole - and use the part outside - the neighbors aren't likely to claim it as their own.  But if if it is close to the line and you don't regularly use the part outside of the line - you can create an adverse possession situation you do not want.  And I cannot an am not giving you legal advice.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Using Home Builder Site Plan instead of Boundary Survey for Fence?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2017, 04:41:32 AM »
If you already have the dimensions that give you the locations of the corners, you may be able to use a metal detector to find the corner markers.  The survey plat that you have should tell you what type of marker is present.  Usually it is something made of ferrous metal to facilitate re-location.  In a suburban lawn, the markers are often countersunk several inches below the ground surface so they don't get hit by lawn mowers.