How do I get my property’s coordinates from Google Maps?

What are property lines?

Property lines are necessary during construction by the developer, city, county, or state to show where ownership of one plot of land starts and ends. A surveyor establishes the formal boundaries and marks them. When the property is legally split, the new property lines are established in a survey. The property line at the front of your house is known as your frontage, the measured distance across the front of the plot you own. The property lines on the side of your plot are known as sidelines. Local zoning laws often dictate these distances.



Look at your property survey. The survey is a document with a rendering of the property lines and measurements, and should have been given to you when you bought your home. The distance from your house to the property line and the street should be shown on the survey. Use the measurements and details about surrounding landmarks to visually determine the property lines and avoid land disputes with neighbors.

The Bottom Line

As a homeowner, it’s crucial that you’re aware of property lines so that you can respect your neighbor’s property and avoid any legal disputes. If you’re struggling to find your home’s property lines, utilize one of the strategies mentioned above, or go online to check. Remember that before you start an outdoor project such as building a fence on the property line, make sure to consult with your neighbor and a real estate agent about your property’s rules and regulations.

Are you trying to put in a new fence but aren’t sure how to pay for it? Why not apply for a cash out refinance today?

Why Are Property Lines Important?

Property lines are important because they eliminate gray areas when it comes to property ownership. Because of property lines, you know exactly what land you’re getting when you begin the process of buying a house. Your mortgage lender and/or title insurance company will need to verify the property lines to help you qualify for a mortgage.

Knowing your property lines is also helpful when starting a home improvement or major landscaping project. You’ll want to have an understanding of where your yard ends and a neighbor’s begins. That way, you won’t end up accidentally building a new addition on your home or putting up a fence around your yard that encroaches on your neighbor’s property.

Finally, being aware of your property lines shows that you’re respectful of the neighboring premises. Knowing the boundaries of your property can help you avoid disagreements with your surrounding neighbors, especially ones that could lead to legal disputes.

How to find property line maps of your property

Plat maps are matters of public record, so you should be able to readily view any documents that are relevant to your property. Actually tracking them down may be easier said than done if you don’t know where to look, though. Google Maps can’t help you here. You might get a rough idea of the property from looking at Google Maps, but you won’t be able to see more detailed information like where precisely your property lines sit. Here are the best places to start your search for your local plat map:

  • County clerk
  • County assessor
  • Office of the recorder of deeds

Although you’ll have to schlep all the way to your county courthouse to get your hands on the physical plat map, you might be able to find a copy online. Some county and city governments have geographic information system (GIS) software on their websites, which you can use to view property line maps. So, it’s worth checking those out first before making the trip to the county clerk’s office. Often, it’s as simple as typing in your address into a search bar.


Check your deed. The deed contains a description of your property’s measurements and boundaries in words. Measure from the landmarks in the description to the property lines. Mark each corner with a stake or other marker. Measure from each stake to the next all the way around your property to ensure the measured lines match the deed. Physically measuring the boundaries will allow you to visually determine where the lines are and avoid encroaching on your neighbor’s land.

4 types of plat maps you should know

You may encounter different types of plats depending on the characteristics of the property as well as your specific intentions as a buyer. These are the four main varieties you should familiarize yourself with:

  1. Plat of subdivision: Used when property is divided into smaller tracts of land
  2. Plat of consolidation: Used when adjacent properties are consolidated into a single, larger plot of land
  3. Correction plat (also known as an amendment plat): Used to fix minor errors in existing plat maps
  4. Vacating plat: Used to remove an existing map from record, often due to lack of development

Knowing each of these will help give you a sense of what’s contained within a plat map before you even take a look at it. That way, you’re less likely to get confused about the information presented in a plat — and believe us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when reviewing these documents.

Why Is Knowing Your Property Lines Important?

Having a good understanding of your home’s property lines is a very important part of being a homeowner. Knowing where your property begins and ends can prevent potential unpleasantries or legal disputes with your neighbors. It can also ensure that you’re respecting your neighbor’s privacy and space. It’s important to note that an unknown property line encroachment could result in a title company refusing insurance.

How Property Lines Are Determined

We know that fences don’t line every landowner’s plot, so how do we define where one yard ends and the neighbor’s begins? It’s a little less than precise, but to help make things more standardized, nearly the entire country has adopted a protocol called the Rectangular Survey System (RSS).

Land surveyors use RSS to develop a system of rectangular parcels of land that can be added and measured to create an outline of the property. RSS works by dividing all land parcels into roughly 1-mile sections. The word “roughly” is used because these sections are hardly ever perfect.

Roads, creeks, rivers, lakes and tree lines often get in the way of the perfect mile. The lines are then separated into two types: meridians and baselines. Meridians run north and south, baselines run east and west.

The RSS system was first used in eastern Ohio in an area called the Seven Ranges. The epicenter of the system is on the Ohio – Pennsylvania border near Pittsburgh. County lines regularly follow this survey, and the creation of it in the Midwest explains why many counties are rectangular in shape. This system has since become the nationwide standard of how we calculate property lines today.

Property Lines And Home Appraisals

So, what does this mean for home appraisers? While conducting an appraisal of a given property, the appraiser will visit the county assessor’s office in the local municipality to acquire property records. They will look at the parcel ID and legal description to verify the basic description of the property location.

If the property is in a subdivision, then it will most likely be measured by RSS, and property lines can often be identified on the associated plat map. If the appraiser cannot verify the property boundaries, they will have to request a copy of a survey that would have to be performed by a licensed surveyor.

Additional Considerations

Keep in mind, however, that there is a chance the Google Maps technique outlined above won’t necessarily be as accurate as finding your property lines through other methods.

By far, the most accurate way to find out where your property begins and ends is by reviewing the property survey. If you didn’t receive this information when you originally purchased your home, the chances are high that you can find it by checking your local clerk’s office. You could also have a survey conducted on your own, although this can be quite expensive and depending on your needs may not be worth it.

If you do decide to have a professional survey conducted, make sure to find someone who is licensed in the state you actually live in. They’ll use GPS technology, CAD tools and other solutions to come up with an accurate and precise indication of where your property begins and ends.

You can also check what is called your plat, which is a map that shows a property’s exact measurements. This document will also have an overview of the property lines. Again, in the event that you didn’t receive one when you originally bought your home, you can likely find it by making a visit to your local zoning department.

If your home is older than 100 years old, they may not be able to find the plat. But it’s still worth a try – especially if you’re getting ready for a big backyard project like putting in a new fence.

Finally, you can examine the exterior of your property for what are called survey pins – essentially markers in the ground that were used to determine the exact property lines the last time a survey was conducted.

This also comes with a bit of a caveat, as depending on the age of your home the pins could have been moved over time. Sometimes utility workers may have needed to get them out of the way to perform a certain task, or a pin that was by a tree that has since been removed may have been misplaced.

Having said that, if you combine this technique with some of the other methods outlined above, you will likely come away with a pretty accurate indication of where your property lines begin and end.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about how to make Google Maps show the property lines in your area, or to speak to someone about your own home buying or selling needs in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact AmeriMac today.


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