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Land Survey vs. Tax Map: Which is Correct?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Gents,

I have an interesting situation on my hands. I refinanced the house recently, and in the course of doing so looked at the survey that was done when I bought the place 11/2000. Holy smokes, it shows a property that is significantly (emphasis added) larger than the town tax map. I'm talking two acres bigger. How could this happen? Which one is probably right?
post #2 of 16
Have the survey double checked, by an independent company if necessary. Tax maps are often way behind the times, especially if you are in a rural area. Both could be wrong, but if you have a really old tax map, a recent survey, and some real estate activity in the adjoining properties, things can get really messed up.

I had a client with a similar issue. Turns out the tax map was way off, the survey was right, and we ended up winners. So by all means look into it.

good luck
post #3 of 16
Hard to say without first doing some checking to see which one is wrong. Once you do that, you'll know which one is correct.

See if you can get an old survey from the prior owner and compare that to the one you did. You'd like to think otherwise, but surveyors make mistakes too.
post #4 of 16
It might open a can of worms that you don't want opened ......but you might contact the property owner of the other property to see what his/her survey says. Where does he/she think the line is?

2 acres sounds like one heck of a descrepency unless it's pretty rural where you live . Could be just a calculation error or a type-O???? I would have it double checked by another surveyor and then proceed.

In the one property line dispute that I was involved in I can say that it was not a simple issue to resolve .

Best of luck to you with your newly found land .

Alan
post #5 of 16
If its a residential neighborhood, 2 acres is huge. In large farmland/woodland tracts, it is much less significant. Often the surveys of adjacent properties will be on file at your county clerks. If they are it is easy to check and see if there is a discrepency. Usually it is the tax maps that are at fault. For that reason, most have a disclaimer that state they are not for conveyancing puposes. You probably will be taxed on the larger acreage unless it is changed on the tax map and tax rolls. I have bumped into situations with rural land where various parcels were sold off and one person is left with the residual. It is occasionally larger (or smaller) than originally thought. Probably not your situation as this usually happens with larger woodland/farm properties, especially when working with old, inaccurate deed descriptions. If you had the survey done, and it is a blunder/error by the surveyor, they usually will correct there mistake and refile the survey.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Gents,

Thanks for your feedback. The area in question is indeed forest that I thought was owned by the local water company. I have no neighbors in front, on either side, or behind the house. Kind of relaxing, actually The town zoning officer said something to the effect that tax maps are often wrong, and that eventhough my survey was done in 2000, it was "young". He sees people bringing in stuff that is 70 years old. Waiting to hear back from the surveyor and also have to meet with the town. I guess the plan is to try and get some consensus as to what the deal is. If it looks reasonably certain that the property is in fact bigger than the tax map, I will have a new survey done with screaming orange stakes put in. After clearing some land, the barn goes up next year.
post #7 of 16
Go to the county court house. Get the newest tax map and your deed, unless you have your own copy. Get some of the past deeds to your property if you want to compare them and see if someone made a mistake writing them.
If you live in New Jersey, you won't find individual surveys for each property filed away. You can get the deeds for the properties around you though.
If you find out that the tax map is wrong, don't worry about it, they will be updated eventually.
If you find out that your survey was wrong, call up the people who give out the licenses to the surveyors and report them for doing a terrible job.

And still, if there is a dispute, it's up to the judge to decide how much you own.
post #8 of 16
Find a copy of your deed and look for the "Schedule A" there should be a meets and bounds description laying out your property with bearings and distances. Check the distance numbers and compare to the survey. They should match. Alot of times, especially on large wooded lots, the tax maps are off.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
The saga continues. I spoke with the town zoning officer, and he said for the most part, they agree with my survey. There is a piece of land across the road that my surveyor says is part of the lot, but the person who owns land across the road disagrees. I could care less about that piece, as it is a steep hill with huge boulders etc, and could not be used for anything anyway. The part that I want, which is flat, is not in dispute. Have an appt at 4:00 PM with the zoning officer to clear this up. I am shaking, thinking about the prospect of having almost two more acres of land. All of this because i casually glanced at a survey....see, this type of thing happens to me all the time
post #10 of 16
richg - sometimes the best land to have is some across the road/street from your residence. This is especially true if it is unbuildable due to physical condition or zoning regulations. You don't have to worry about someone building accross from you. If it is unbuildable, it should not hurt your property taxes too bad.
post #11 of 16
In dealing with Unsubdivided property your Survey and/or the tax maps have absolutely NO control over what you own. Your Deed with its Metes & Bounds descriptions (schedule A) tells you and the world (its recorded in the county land records)what you own! If your deed was incorrectly drafted then you would fall back upon your title insurance policy which you would have hade to have purchased when you bought the land(required if a lender was involved.)

As Eddy stated check the metes and bounds of your deed against the survey!
post #12 of 16
Speaking as a RE lawyer, tax maps NEVER have ANY legal bearing on what property you actually own. What you own is no more and no less than the property described in your deed.

Tax maps are only used for the town's convenience, and are NOT legal in any way, shape, or form.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by Eddy:
Go to the county court house. Get the newest tax map and your deed, unless you have your own copy. Get some of the past deeds to your property if you want to compare them and see if someone made a mistake writing them.
If you live in New Jersey, you won't find individual surveys for each property filed away. You can get the deeds for the properties around you though.
If you find out that the tax map is wrong, don't worry about it, they will be updated eventually.
If you find out that your survey was wrong, call up the people who give out the licenses to the surveyors and report them for doing a terrible job.

And still, if there is a dispute, it's up to the judge to decide how much you own.
Or better yet, hopefully you got title insurance . . .
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by Ishmael:
Originally posted by Eddy:
Go to the county court house. Get the newest tax map and your deed, unless you have your own copy. Get some of the past deeds to your property if you want to compare them and see if someone made a mistake writing them.
If you live in New Jersey, you won't find individual surveys for each property filed away. You can get the deeds for the properties around you though.
If you find out that the tax map is wrong, don't worry about it, they will be updated eventually.
If you find out that your survey was wrong, call up the people who give out the licenses to the surveyors and report them for doing a terrible job.

And still, if there is a dispute, it's up to the judge to decide how much you own.
Or better yet, hopefully you got title insurance . . . [/quote]Hmm. Maybe. Tough to explain but I will try. I'll keep it as simple as possible.
I know of a piece of land that is owned by two different parties. It is in the deed as being part of the property party A owns. It is also in the deed as being part of the property party B owns.
Now what if both parties have title insurance for their property described in their deeds? Explain it then.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by richg:
After clearing some land, the barn goes up next year.
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