How to Find Your Property Markers

How To Find Property Lines and Corners With a Cell Phone GPS

How To Find Property Lines and Corners With a Cell Phone GPS

Are you interested in buying property but can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a survey? Do you want to find an existing survey marker? find an approximate corner for land that has not been surveyed? Follow your approximate property lines?

This article will show you how to do the above things with your cell phone or tablet. You can do this whether or not there is cell service on your land. This article also shows you how to get the best possible GPS accuracy from your mobile device by doing two easy things.

How To Find Property Lines and Corners With a Cell Phone GPS

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How much does a survey cost?

The cost of the survey depends on many factors like the surface of the property, the complexity of the survey, the distance the surveyor has to travel to get to the property… On Average, it costs 500 $.

The age of the property affects the cost of the survey. As time goes by, the ground will shift slightly and reference points marked on the initial documentation may disappear. This makes the task more difficult and consequently more expensive.

Trees make the survey more complex. Flat clear lots are easy to work with and they don’t cost that much.

The cost will also increase depending on how many markers should be placed. If the lines are complex more markers should be planted.

The surveyor needs to look for the property’s document to compare them against reality. The longer it takes to find these documents, the more money you are going to pay. So make sure they are within reach.

Check the deed

On the deed, you’ll find a few information about your lot. It can tell you about its location on the plat map based on some reference points.

In the metes and bounds survey, there is a starting point in one of the property’s corners. You’ll get detailed instructions to get to the other ones. You can use them to map your property boundaries from the deed.

This method isn’t very accurate. It is difficult to tell where the markers are, based on a simple description. A map will be much more helpful. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words“.

Check Sidewalks and Street Lights

Examine the lines that are cut in the sidewalk in front of your house. Often, the contractor who poured the sidewalk started and stopped on the property lines, so those cut lines may coincide with the edges of your property. As well, the appearance of the concrete on your side of the property may be slightly different from that on your neighbor’s side. Streetlights, too, are often placed on property lines. While these visual clues are good indications of property lines, if you intend to build or install something on your land, you’ll need additional verification.


Consider the Metes and Bounds Survey

If your deed features a metes and bounds survey—a survey that describes the exact distances and directions from one established point on your property line to the next—you’ll have all the information you need to find property lines. Unfortunately, this type of legal description is notoriously difficult to comprehend unless you’re a surveyor.

The metes and bounds survey cites a starting point, located at one of corners of your property. From there, the survey will give you detailed directions and distances to help you locate the rest of the corners and boundary lines of your property. It’s similar to a connect-the-dots game, except you do it on foot, not on paper. You’ll need a long measuring tape as well as a good-quality directional compass so you can move systematically from point to point.


But egad! You’ll find that a metes and bounds survey reads like a Shakespearean play. A typical survey may tell you to “commence” from the point of beginning (POB), “running thence westerly 100 feet, thence southerly at an interior angle of 55 degrees to a point,” and so on until it brings you back to the original starting point.

Can My Neighbor Build A Fence On The Property Line?

If your neighbor is thinking about building a fence on the property line between your two homes, they must be aware of all necessary laws and regulations. Where a neighbor can build a fence on the property depends on jurisdiction laws and any deed restrictions on either of your homes. As a general rule, laws typically state that a fence must be built at least 2 – 8 inches from a neighbor’s property line. A fence built directly on a property line may result in a joint responsibility of the fence between the neighbors, including maintenance and costs. Just as a precaution, if you or a neighbor are thinking of building a fence on or near one of your home’s property lines, make sure to consult your real estate agent on any rules and regulations.

Choosing the Right Metal Detector

Most metal detectors available for local rental are outdated or low-end machines that aren’t easy to use. Even if you get the settings configured correctly, they won’t be able to get deep enough. 

Standard metal detectors can detect objects 6-8” (15 to 20 cm) deep at most. As we mentioned earlier, property markers (particularly in older neighborhoods) tend to be 6” (15 cm) deep at a minimum. And if they’re under rocks or thick landscaping, a typical metal detector won’t be able to detect the pins at all. 

You want a metal detector that’s specifically designed for finding property pins. You want something that’s dead simple to use, can reach as deep as you need it to, and doesn’t have any settings you need to fiddle with.

The right metal detector for finding your property markers is a magnetic locator

What is a magnetic locator?

Unlike standard metal detectors, a magnetic locator is a specialized type of metal detector that measures magnetic fields. They ignore all metals except for magnetic ones.

Because property markers are made of iron, and iron is a magnetic metal, a magnetic locator is the right metal detector for locating your survey pins.

Plus, it’s much easier to use than a standard metal detector.

There aren’t any settings to configure. It’s as simple as turning it on and sweeping across your search area. You’ll watch the display (and listen) for the peaks in signal strength that indicate when you’re nearing a buried iron object.

Where Can I Rent a Magnetic Locator?

Magnetic locators are available for rental from anywhere in the United States. For just $95 per day, you can get a rental shipped directly to your door. Easy to follow instructions and return shipping supplies are included in the box. When you’re finished, just drop it off at your nearest UPS Store. 

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