Property Lines and Professionals – On the House

Property Lines and Professionals

By on June 13, 2020
Property lines and Professionals

Property Lines and Professionals are a few simple places to research before beginning any DIY projects.

June is National Homeownership Month!  

Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here. 

Tips to work efficiently with a landscape professional  

The work done by your landscape professional will be a big part of your life for years to come as it will influence the look and feel of your outdoor living space and more importantly, how you use and enjoy your lawn. Once you have selected the right firm for your project, there are a few things that can be done to ensure your work with a contractor is effective. Here are some of the things landscape professionals recommend to ensure the most effective partnership with their clients: 

Communicate your long-term vision for your lawn.

Look at each landscape project as part of a process rather than a separate job with no connection to other things you’d like to do. Just as each chapter of a novel serves as a compliment to the overall book, so does each landscape project in its connection to your full outdoor setting. Stop and start planning can create extra expense. For instance, if you are installing a new patio and eventually plan to put in an outdoor kitchen, have the gas lines installed while the area is under construction rather than going to the expense of having to pull the patio up later. Your landscape professional can help create a master plan to allow you to create your ultimate outdoor setting, implemented in phases as your resources allow. 


Understand the importance of working with native flowers, shrubs and trees.

These are the plants most likely to thrive in your landscape. Too often customers want the installation of rare plants or ones that were childhood favorites, without regard for what can grow successfully in their location. Temperatures, soil conditions and water resources should all be considered whenselecting plantingsfor your landscape. 


Consider what time investment you want to make in your landscape after the installation is done.

If you have little time to invest in your yard, make that clear solower-maintenance shrubswill be considered. Or, if you have little time and need help to care for your landscape investment, talk to your contractor about a maintenance plan. 


Allow adequate time for your landscape project.

If you plan to host your son or daughter’s graduation party on the new patio you want installed, make sure that is communicated up front and with enough time for proper installation. Once you are ready to begin your project, it doesn’t necessarily mean work will commence immediately. Permits may need to be secured, crews will need to be scheduled, weather considerations may need to be factored in and there may be a variety of other things that will affect the timing and successful completion of your project. 


Know your budget.

This seems like an obvious one, but too often landscape professionals sit down with new clients who have given little (or not enough) thought to how much they’d like to invest in their project. An experienced landscape professional understands how to make the most of your investment so be realistic with your financial parameters. Also, understand what the billing process is. Will the project be billed in installments or at the completion of the work?  Be sure to plan accordingly. 


Communicate any special community rules.

While a landscape professional understands state laws and most city or town ordinances, they cannot be familiar with all neighborhood rules, such as those mandated by homeowners associations. Be sure to communicate any parameters related to your landscape so your contractor can be sure to plan your project within established guidelines. 


Ask any lingering questions.

More than likely you have already asked a lot of clarifying questions in selecting your landscape professional; however, if there are any issues you did not cover, your first meeting is the time to get all remaining questions answered to your satisfaction. For instance, if you haven’t asked about insurance or licensing, now is the time to do so. Be clear on what projects your firm will do and what, if any, may be subcontracted out. It’s important to understand what project guarantees are provided. 

Remember that landscape professionals are outdoor enthusiasts and they want to help you enjoy your yard as an extension of your home. Consider them as trusted advisors for the living space you want to create and they will provide you with the expertise and knowledge to fulfill those dreams. 


Essential DIY Problem Solvers  

Instant Electrical Connections 

Traditional twist-on wire connectors can be a bother to install. The wire ends have to be held in perfect alignment while you twist on the connector. And then you have to fit all those wires and connectors neatly into the box. 

Try push-in connectors instead. They’re simple to use and almost foolproof. Just strip the wires to the length recommended on the package and press each wire end into a separate hole in the connector. And since they’re smaller, they take up less room in the electrical box. They’re also the perfect solution for extending wires that are too short. 

A few downsides: You’ll need to keep a greater variety of connectors on hand, since it wouldn’t be economical to use a connector designed for six wires to connect a single pair. Also, push-in connectors cost a little more than the twist-on type. 


Sticky Sand for Pavers 

Tired of replacing the sand between the pavers on your walk or patio? Sick of pulling weeds from between the stones? Here’s a solution. Vacuum or blow out the old sand and replace it with polymeric sand. It’s just sand mixed with a glue-like polymer. When wetted, the polymer binds the sand, holding it in place and creating a weed-resistant barrier. It’s a little fussy to install because you have to be careful to clean it off the face of the pavers or stones before wetting it, but it’s worth the extra effort. 


Flat-Proof Wheelbarrow Tire 

Is the tire flat every time you go to use your wheelbarrow? Do you use your wheelbarrow on construction sites where nails can be a problem? If so, then you need a “flat-free” wheelbarrow tire. Flat-free tires are filled with foam or made of urethane so they never need air and won’t go flat if you run over a nail. And they’re not just for wheelbarrows. You can also buy flat-free tires to fit lawn mowers and lawn tractors, handcarts and golf carts. Expect to spend about $30 for a wheelbarrow tire. 


Moldable Wood Filler 

Nothing beats two-part epoxy wood filler for rebuilding moldings or other architectural elements that have missing or damaged parts. The most common brand is Abatron’s WoodEpox. When mixed, WoodEpox has a consistency like Play-Doh that allows you to hand-mold it into the approximate shape of the damaged part. Unlike less expensive fillers, it’ll stay put without sagging or running. When the “dough” hardens to about the consistency of soap, you can shave and carve it into the final profile. When it’s completely cured, you can sand and plane it like wood. Epoxy wood filler costs about $40 for two pints. 


Instant, Permanent Hole Fix 

Stephen Evans, one of our Field Editors, has a favorite wood filler for special jobs. QuickWood putty stick is a two-part epoxy filler that is the size and consistency of a large Tootsie Roll. Stephen uses it to fill screw holes and make repairs where high strength and a fast set are important. To use it, just slice a chunk from the tube and knead it until the color is consistent. This activates the epoxy, allowing you about 15 to 25 minutes to fill holes or dings until it starts to harden.  


How Do I Find My Property Lines? 

Determining property lines can provide you with information for needed legal changes to your home and backyard. 

You may feel confident that you know your property lines just by looking at your house and yard. The neighbor’s fence and where you mow your grass all seem to match the boundaries between other houses on your street. A fence may slightly stray, but for the most part everything seems about right. 

Now imagine being so wrong about your property lines that you learn your house is built on the completely wrong lot. Even smaller mistakes or discrepancies between documents can lead to costly issues if you and a neighbor disagree over the location of your property line. To steer clear of conflicts, avoid making any changes to the edges of your property that could lead to a problem, monetary or otherwise, down the line. 


Why You Must Know Your Property Lines 

From permits to purchases, being able to identify your property lines accurately makes it much easier to complete a project or move forward with atransaction. 

In most official cases, having a new survey done is the way to go. Let’s say, for example, you want to build a swimming pool, and you’re not 100% sure where that easement is. You should have a new survey done. 

Additionally, when you purchase a home, it’s not uncommon for your mortgage lender to require a new survey be conducted on the property. Even when that’s not the case, yourtitle insurance companywill likely recommend a new survey as well, so you know if the neighbor’s garage reaches over onto the property or if the outdoor kitchen encroaches on a sewer easement, which could be costly to remove down the line. 

Issues discovered in a new survey of the property may not be covered in the standard owner’s title insurance policy, but knowing those concerns before you close could help you decide if you need to renegotiate with the seller orwalk away from the dealentirely. 

How Do I Find My Property Lines? 

Check your deed. Your property lines were established when your neighborhood was developed, whether that’s 10 years or a century ago. The property lines are noted in a few different locations, including in the legal description for the lot, which would be on your property deed, and on a plat map, which is typically available through your local assessor’s office or planning office. 

A property’s legal description is most easily found on the deed to the property, and there are a few ways the description can be written. It could simply describe the property’s exact location as it exists on the plat map, or it may include specific details with precise measurements that allow you to walk the property lines from a nearby reference point.  

But being able to perfectly translate the legal description to establish the physical boundaries on your property can be quite the feat if you’re not trained to do so. Many properties have hidden markers at the corners that, if found, can help you find your boundaries, but hiring a professional surveyor to reestablish your property lines will give you the most accurate answer. 

Review a plat map. A plat map shows property outlines for an entire neighborhood or area. On a standard residential street, you can expect to see rectangles all about the same size lined up on each side of the street, which signify each privately owned property. Every individual property will be labeled with an identifying number, which is the parcel number assigned when the lots were planned for separate sale and follow surrounding parcel numbers in numerical order. Your deed should note the parcel number, but you can typically find the parcel information if you look up your home through your local assessor’s office, many of which have online databases. 

Hire a surveyor. For existing residential properties, a surveyor specializes in making precise measurements to locate the legal boundaries of a plot of land and any improvements to the property, from the house and driveway to a swimming pool or backyard shed. Surveyors also play a vital role when developing land to determine new property lines, locate the property location of a building to meet zoning and code requirements and more. 

Taking the details from the legal description and plat map, a surveyor carefully measures the legal boundaries of your property. When the original survey is completed, metal bars are often buried at the corner points of the property. To help you see the corners or boundary lines, a surveyor will likely leave wooden stakes or flags in the ground at those spots as a temporary reference for you. 

In an older neighborhood, where lots of properties have fences and established trees, a half-acre could take you two to three hours. 

Hiring a surveyor is certainly the most accurate way to find out your property lines, but it isn’t cheap. HomeAdvisor reports the typical price range to hire a land surveyor is between $339 and $671, with the national average at just about $500. Depending on the size of your property and where you live, you could see that price rising close to $1,000, according to HomeAdvisor. 


Fun Ideas to Celebrate Father’s Day that are all Quarantine- Approved 

  1. Spoil him with breakfast in bed

Breakfast in bed isn’t just forMother’s Day! Dad’s can enjoy it too! Whip up some of his favorite brunch treats and start Father’s Day off right. 

  1. Tackle a task together

Is Dad a hands-on guy? Why not spend the day constructing something or help him finish a project he started.  

  1. Have a wine and paint night

Have all the fun of a classic wine and paint night without having to leave your house! Trace fun images onto a canvas for easy painting or let your creativity shine and come up with your own painting. 

  1. Construct something out of Legos

With an abundance of free time, why not deep dive into a long term Lego project? Help Dad build models of favorite movie props like the Death Star or the Hogwarts castle. 

  1. Make ice cream

Did you know you can make ice cream in a Ziploc bag? With just a couple of ingredients, Dad and the rest of the gang are guaranteed to have a sweet time. 

  1. Make paper airplanes

Have Dad teach the little ones how to make paper airplanes. Once they get the hang of it, have a competition in your backyard to see whose airplane can fly the furthest 

  1. Make a baking soda volcano

This Father’s Day activity is great to get the little ones involved! Use paper mache and paint to create your own volcano. Then, add baking soda into the mouth of the volcano and add red food coloring. Finally, pour vinegar and watch it erupt! 

  1. Go bowling

Build a bowling alley in your backyard with recyclable cans and bottles. You can use any type of ball to knock them over! 

  1. 9. Make your own BBQ spice rub 

Elevate Dad’s cooking by helping him create his very own signature BBQ spice rub. Find recipes on the Internet or be adventurous and make your own! 

  1. 10. Throw some axes in the backyard

Use the 6-foot rule in a whole different way! Grab a hatchet and stand back at least 6 feet away from a wooden target or tree trunk. Hold the ax’s handle with two hands, wind it up behind your head, and throw it straight to release. Pro tip: Watch YouTube videos to perfect your throwing technique before you start! 


Mentioned Links 


Thank you to our special guests~

 Jesse Johnstone, president of FIBRENEW

(800) 345-2951  ~ 

KATHLEEN KUHN – HouseMaster 

Title: President and CEO 

A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming! 

Thank you to our Technical Support: 

  • Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer  
  • Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer  
  • Sam Reed – Associate Producer  
  • Rico Figliolini – Digital Master 


Thank you for tuning in to Property Lines and Professionals! And check in next week for more cool tips! 

“Property Lines and Professionals ” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired June 13, 2020. 

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