It is important to know the exact location of your lot lines before making improvements on your property. It is the property owner's responsibility to verify setbacks are met and to prevent encroachments into easements. The City does not have a licensed land surveyor to locate property lines but Planning staff can provide assistance to help you locate your lot lines.
How can I find my property lines?
- Check with Building Inspections if a survey is on file of your property and use a metal detector to find surveyor pins.
- Contact a licensed land surveyor to mark your property lines.
What is a certificate of survey?
A survey is a paper map of a lot that accurately reflects the measurements by using a scale.
The following tips can help you interpret and calculate distances on your survey:
- Surveys use an engineer's scale. You can purchase an inexpensive engineer's scale ruler at an office store to help calculate distances.
- Check the survey's scale i.e. if scale is 1" = 30' then use the 1:30 side of the scale ruler.
- Start at 0 on the scale ruler and measure the distance on the survey map.
- Multiply that measurement by 10 to get the actual distance.
- Surveys that have been enlarged or reduced will no longer have an accurate scale.
- To print a survey your print settings should have the reduce/enlarge option set to "off" and page size set to "actual size". Do not fit to page.
- Measure a known distance to verify the scale is accurate after printing.
Is there a difference between a proposed survey and an as-built survey?
If an older certificate of survey says "proposed" house and does not state "as-built" anywhere use caution regarding house and location of other improvements. A "proposed" survey shows the house and driveway location before construction rather than the actual "existing" location shown on an as-built survey. Measuring the distance from the house to the property line is not an accurate way to find property lines.
What is a surveyor pin?
Property boundaries are marked with surveyor pins set by a licensed surveyor at each corner when a lot is platted. Each iron monument set is shown on the survey or plat. Survey pins are metal pipes typically ½" - 2" in width and at least 12 inches long bearing the surveyor's license number on top. Newer pins are topped with a colored plastic cap. Surveyor pins are the only legal property line markers; other common names include pipes, stakes, corner markers or monuments. Do not rely on steel green fence posts, utilities, curbs, fences or where you mow to identify property lines.
How do I locate surveyor pins?
Use your survey as reference and try to find your pins with a metal detector which you can rent from rental or hardware stores. The following information may help you locate them:
- Before digging you must contact Gopher State One at 651-454-0002 or dial 811 at least 2 business days in advance to locate utility lines at no cost to you.
- Monument pins are set at lot corners and at any change in property line direction.
- Gently hand dig for buried pins using caution to avoid moving it. It's a violation of Minnesota law to move, destroy or deface set monuments.
- Pins are usually 4 to 12 inches below ground.
- Use an extra-long measuring tape to measure the distance between corner pins until they are all found.
- If you can't find all monument pins you may need to call a licensed surveyor to mark your property lines.
- Markers sometimes get accidentally removed and may need to be reset by a surveyor.
What is the difference between a proposed survey and an as-built survey?
If an older certificate of survey depicts a "proposed" house and does not have "as-built" written on it use caution regarding location of the house or other improvements on the lot because it shows the location of the house and driveway before construction rather than the actual "existing" location that are shown on an as-built survey. Measuring the distance from the house to the property line is not an accurate way to find a property line.
Does finding my survey pins guarantee the location of my property line?
No, it is not a guarantee especially in older neighborhoods. Only a licensed land surveyor can determine property line locations. Sometimes survey pins are missing or a neighbor's property marker is found instead. It is also possible the original lot was subdivided and new survey pins were installed in addition to the original pins.
How can I get my lot surveyed?
You will need to hire a private licensed professional land surveyor by searching for local land surveying firms. The City of Savage does not have surveyors to perform this service. A typical survey can cost $700 - $1,000 but can be higher if the lot is irregular in shape or has unusual features. If you already have a survey and just need it updated or your property lines marked, the costs may be lower if you contact the firm that did the original survey. Surveys may seem expensive but it is cheaper than relocating improvements or legal costs caused by encroaching onto an adjacent property.
When would I need a survey?
Surveys are required for new home construction, additions, decks, garages, sheds, pools and other projects. If a permit is not required the property owner is still responsible to know the property line locations. You may also need a survey if you are involved in a lot line dispute.
Will the City resolve a property line dispute between neighbors?
A property line dispute is a private, civil matter. You will need to contact a licensed land surveyor and/or attorney to resolve the matter in court.
Where can I find more property information?