Boundary Survey

I’m working on a fence, but haven’t known exactly where the property boundary is, so I’ve been looking into getting a boundary survey done. I figured a survey of my 80 acres would be as expensive as the property was. That has scared me away from getting the survey done. However, I really needed a survey if I am going to put up a fence along the property line.

I ended up finding Boundary Consultants. I liked their website, and they sounded like they had a lot of experience, so I asked for a quote. David Hawkes quoted me $2500 for the survey and said he could have it done within a week. He included the boundary survey and line stakes every 100 feet, so I would know where I could put my fence.

That quote happened to be exactly what I had saved up, so I went ahead and had them do it.  I needed the peace of mind a survey brings.

Cropped Boundary Survey
Bridget and I paid for a survey of our property, so we’d know where to put the fence.

I admit, I was so excited to finally have a survey done of Dove Ranch that I could hardly sleep at night. I was like a little kid waiting to unwrap his Christmas presents. I haven’t been this excited about a purchase since buying the ranch back in 2014.

Now back to reality.

Surveys are like playing slots. Sometimes you like the results you get, and sometimes you don’t. It isn’t the surveyors fault. It’s just that property boundaries and sizes aren’t fully known until you do the survey.

Boundary Consultants got my survey done as quickly as they said they would, and for the price they said they would. They also got the line stakes placed, which was the thing I wanted most.

The good news was that all my trees I’ve been pampering are fully on my property. There was one my daughter and wife planted back in 2014 that I was a bit worried about, but even it is properly inside the parcel boundary. That was a huge relief. That tree has sentimental value, so I want it to be mine.

The bad news is that the eastern boundary of the parcel is actually about a 100 feet farther west than I realized. I was expecting at worst, maybe 40 feet. I wasn’t expecting 100 feet difference. The result is that I only have 72 acres, not closer to the 80 acres the county thought I had.

I asked Dave over at Boundary Consultants a little more about the survey, and he explained …

The dashed line [through the center of the property] shows the correct breakdown of the Section. Because your parcel abuts the Township line all error in the Township are lotted along the north and west lines of the Township. That is why you don’t have 80 acres. You actually own Government Lot 4 and the Southwest Quarter of the Northwest Quarter of the Section but for ease of description and because most laymen don’t understand the lotting your description is to the West Half of the Northwest Quarter of the Section. Essentially the same thing just stated different.

Sadly, I did understand that … after reading it four or five times.

I admit, I was a bit in shock at instantly losing seven acres from my lot. Of course, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. So, I independently verified the eastern boundary using a previous survey I knew about. That survey agreed with Boundary Consultants to within a few inches, so I felt better about the accuracy, and just accepted my lost acres. I take bad news better when I have a second opinion that I trust. Besides, it’s far better knowing the eastern property boundary now than a few years after putting in multi-thousand dollar fence on someone else’s property.

Boundary Consultants is going to file the mylar of the survey with the County Surveyor, so it’s all official now.

Road Sign Back Up
The Dove Creek Road sign is back up. It’s been abused, and looks terrible, but at least my wife can now find the road again.

Of course, before I sent off the check for the survey, I wanted to verify it in person and walk the property’s boundary. I did it the psycho way, of course. I drove up right after work. During the summer I can get away with doing that because it stays light into the night. During late fall, winter, and early spring, I can’t get up there before it gets dark on work days.

It was good to see that the sign is back up that someone, *cough* *cough* BLM(?) *cough*, pulled out of the ground. It looks even worse now that it’s been shot and ripped to pieces. At least it’s back in place. My wife couldn’t find the road without that sign.

Cattle Guard Installed
Lower Dove Creek Road now has it’s own cattle guard instead of a barbed wire gate! I’ve mentioned how much I hated that gate.

I was very excited to see they installed the cattle guard at the north entrance to Dove Creek Road. The significance of that is that there will never be another gate blocking the road. I couldn’t be happier about that. I have a few permanent scars from the barbed wire gate.

I managed to get to Dove Ranch by about 6PM. That gave me plenty of time to walk the perimeter.

The first thing I noticed about the line stakes on the boundary was that those florescent ribbons the surveyors tie to them are really bright. I could see almost a quarter mile of the them in a row. It was pretty incredible after experiencing losing sight of my 16-year-old boy at just 200 feet distance when trying to figure out the boarder ourselves.

Line Stakes
It’s pretty cool to see my future fence line for the first time outside my imagination.

I decided not to do anything but walk the future fence line. I had to be to work early the next day, so I didn’t want to delay coming home any more than I had to.

I started at on the norther boundary just opposite of my driveway, and walked clockwise around the property. It was kind of cool, because I could still see the surveyors’ bootprints.  They walked the same direction as me.

I saw that the surveyors had found a third government survey cap I hadn’t known existed. They’re the pros and it shows. Also, they put in stakes next to all the known markers in addition to the two caps that they added for the two eastern corners.

Corner Marker
The three aluminum caps were placed by a government surveyor a few decades ago.

I liked what I saw, so I mailed off the check. It was money well spent.

My next step is to go around the perimeter of the parcel and pound in t-posts to more permanently mark the boundary in distances I can use when putting in the fence. I know from experience that survey stakes tend to not weather winters and other natural/manmade events very well. I don’t want to have to pay for another boundary survey of that land just to finish putting in my fence a few years from now.

One more thing to note, I have a friend that recently went through a boundary dispute with a neighbor, and she warned me that if a fence is on the boundary instead of completely on your own land (including the concrete post footings), then legally it is a shared fence even if you paid for it all by yourself.

In light of that information, I’ll make sure the fence at Dove Ranch is set at least eight inches into my property so I retain full legal ownership of the fence.

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