Aerial Photos a Great Tool
Some time ago one of my agents brought a new listing into my office to get my opinion. I scrutinized the listing data and then turned my attention to the plat map and aerial photo. I immediately noticed something that indicated that this owner did not know where his property lines were located. This fact manifested itself by the visible “cut line” of the timber which was obviously outside the lines of the plat map. In other words, we could see by that map that when they cut the timber they had erred by a significant margin. When the agent consulted with the seller they admitted that they had referred to a survey marker that was shown to them when they purchased it. The agent advised them to seek the services of a surveyor.
The subsequent survey confirmed our suspicion that the seller had never known the correct property boundaries, but had erroneously assumed that the marker they had referred to was theirs, when instead it was a corner marker for a property on the opposite side of the road. This seller had cut approximately 5 acres of timber from the adjoining property by mistake. This is not a rare or isolated incident!
In other recent case, a quick glance at the aerial photo revealed evidence of recent excavation that exceeded the boundaries of the property. A survey confirmed that the recently installed septic system was almost entirely encroaching on the adjoining property. Of course a survey should have been completed before that installation in order to avoid the very negative consequences that followed as the two owners resolved this dilemma.
One of the best tools for land owners is the aerial photo. I’m not talking about the photos you can get from an airplane or drone that cost a small fortune. I’m talking about the satellite version that local counties have available to the public on their websites with superimposed plat maps. If you have not seen your property from this perspective, you should go to your county webpage and take a look. Be prepared to enter your parcel number or address in order to access your property profile and aerial photo. Maybe you’ll discover something new about your property from that angle!