Old fences and boundary shrubs have an uncanny way of creeping backwards or forwards. Looks can be deceiving. Trees and bushes that seem to be property line markers might not actually indicate the legal borders of your yard. So if you’re considering selling your home or want to install a new fence, consider hiring a professional surveyor to determine the exact boundary lines of your property. A survey precludes prolonged disputes with neighbors and ensures that the property you advertise is exactly the one you’re entitled to sell. Even the difference of a few feet could affect a potential buyer’s decision to purchase or how much he or she is willing to pay
In addition, if you’re currently in the market for a new home, be aware that real estate brokers do not independently verify the boundary lines of the properties they list. Furthermore, without a survey, most title insurance policies will not cover “encroachments,” or other discrepancies and conflicts in boundary lines. You should make sure you hire an independent surveyor to verify the boundary lines of any property you’re interested in buying.
For more information on hiring a surveyor, see A Guide for Consumer’s... produced by the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. You may also call the Board at (916) 263-2222 or send a request to:
The California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833
For further details on obtaining records showing the dimensions of your property, see the San Francisco Planning Department’s information on “Property Line Disputes." For assistance in settling boundary line conflicts, you may also call the Community Boards of San Francisco at (415) 920-3820.