Boundary Line Problems: You Can’t Build That Here. It’s My Land!

Two people arguing over their real estate boundary line.

In 2018, a couple in Texas stumbled upon an unusual opportunity. They got a tip that certain rural plots of land in Smithville — just 50 miles east of Austin — were available for $500. They went for it. Soon, the couple would order their manufactured home. That’s when the trouble began.

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The Property Survey: Do You Need One?

Image of a person in the woods using survey equipment to do a property survey.

Will you have a survey done before your coming real estate deal? Of course, a professional will be examining the title. But a title search does not include a survey. With a title search, the title company reviews the chain of title, up to the present ownership. It does not reveal specific physical details of the property.

Depending on the region of the country (and even the state) in which the home exists, the mortgage company might or might not require a survey. Nevertheless, either the seller or the buyer may want to hire a service to produce an up-to-date survey. Here, we make the case for having this done — so you can decide for yourself.

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How Real Estate Legal Descriptions and Surveys Work Together

Image of a field at sunrise with a couple of trees and a fence marking a property line. Captioned: How Real Estate Legal Descriptions and Surveys Work Together.

Real estate transactions involving home sales, deeds, mortgage loans, or deeds of trust all rely on a binding legal description. Mortgage companies, for example, need to be sure that the property is well described—and worth the money they lend to a buyer. 

A properly written legal description sets forth the county and state of the property. It allows a surveyor to identify precise dimensions and correct, historical borderlines.

Indeed, the existing legal description is based on the original survey. And a key task of the current survey is a verification of the accuracy of the property’s legal description. In short, real estate legal descriptions and surveys work together.

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