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Can an iron survey pin be wrong?

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Chlorociboria
(@chlorociboria)
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Topic starter
 

Hoping for help!

I’ve been in this property for one year. There have been disputes about the property line on the north side since I bought the place. One year ago I had a survey done (I think not a full ‘proper’ one since he didn’t find all the posts, but enough that we could tell the neighbors to stop building a fence on our land). 

this last month I had a patio built on the north side, keeping it to 12” inside the property line. My front gate reaches to the neighbors fence, which is right on the line. 

they are contesting, saying they built 12” inside the line. I can pull a string from wood post marking to wood post marking to show this is not true, but it did look like our gate post was over too much. 

fair enough. I call the contractor and ask him to move it back to our line. He says he would be happy to, but know that it’s inside our property. They know this because when excavating for the patio, they found an iron survey pin. They dug it back up for me and indeed, it is a survey pin

 

my neighbors are now saying the pin is not valid because it ‘contradicts’ my last survey and isn’t in line with aerial photos that show no jog to the north line (this would add maybe a 1’ jog halfway through the line). 

im going to go dig up the other two pins today and make sure the wooden stakes near them are actually near them. Other than that I’m not sure what to do. I live at the side of a cul de sac. My lot has many apexes. How do I determine if the dug up pin is ‘real’? I’ve left a message with the original surveyor but have not heard back. Will I need to pay for a full survey to determine whether this pin is ‘legitimate’?

thank you all so much in advance!

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 7:44 am
holy cow
(@holy-cow)
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Yes.  You need to hire a competent licensed land surveyor to perform a full survey of your property.  This may cost more than you really want to spend but you will sleep better for the remainder of the time you live at this location.

An iron pin is merely an iron pin until a trained professional says that it is, in fact, a property corner monument.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 8:31 am
Jitterboogie reacted
Williwaw
(@williwaw)
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I'm assuming that this is in a platted subdivision as you mentioned you are in a cul de sac. It's not unheard of for an original pin to be a foot off line if it's an old subdivision that was laid out with a chain and transit. The real question is whether there is a record of a pin being set at that location. Does the pin correlate to the original plat and if so, why if another surveyor did a survey of your property, did they not search that location for it. They should have found it and evaluated it. Does the pin match what was called for on the plat, the same length, diameter, ect.? If there is not a record of anything being set at that location, I don't think there is much weight to claiming that it's a valid corner. 

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 8:50 am
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Chlorociboria
(@chlorociboria)
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Topic starter
 

@williwaw I’m going to try to get my hands on the original plat today at the courthouse. It’s online but I can’t sort out what my plot number is to pull it out of a list of thousands. 

it sounds like I just need to pay to have a full and proper survey done. I’m assuming I should pay for this even though it’s my neighbors contesting?

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 8:53 am
Jim in AZ
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Posted by: @chlorociboria

One year ago I had a survey done (I think not a full ‘proper’ one since he didn’t find all the posts, but enough that we could tell the neighbors to stop building a fence on our land).

It's very unfortunate that a Surveyor would perform an "improper" survey, and that you would rely on that survey to tell your neighbor where a property line was located.

I second Mr. Cow's recommendation.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 8:53 am
RADAR
(@dougie)
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Posted by: @chlorociboria

How do I determine if the dug up pin is ‘real’?

Hire a competent surveyor, to perform a full survey of your property. 

The best thing you can do; is get along with your neighbor. It's not "your" line, it's the line you share with them.

I do a lot of surveys, because the neighbors are fighting. It's never about the line; it's because there was a yelling match; horrible things were said and now you need a way to get back at them, or they need to get back at you.

Let it go, shake hands and apologize. Agree to maintain the line the way you both can agree to. It's even a good Idea to share the expense of a survey, and make sure it's right. This is difficult, in most cases, but if you're willing to compromise, things will go a lot smoother.

 

Hope the best for you and your neighbor; I hate to see neighbors fighting. The only winners are the attorneys...

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 9:13 am
KScott, Nate The Surveyor, JBStahl and 7 people reacted

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Williwaw
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@chlorociboria What Radar wrote.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 11:49 am
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Bill93
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Estimate how much land area is in question, and ask yourself how much you are willing to pay to keep/get that area.  The cost of a dispute can easily be an order of magnitude or two over what the land is worth.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 4:17 pm
Jitterboogie reacted
Chlorociboria
(@chlorociboria)
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Topic starter
 

I have the plat! This pin isn't marked on there. I do have confirmation of what the survey pin should look like, and it conforms to that. A very interesting mystery. Sounds like the neighbors already have a surveyor coming so that should clear up the remaining mystery.

I appreciate everyone's time. The reason I am fighting this is because they have argued every inch of the line, starting from demanding that their property was ten or more feet into mine, and slowly pulling back each time they were found to be wrong. They have filed complaints with the HOA (and been asked to stop). They were part of a bias complaint I filed which resulted in a cease and desist letter. I understand that neighbors spat but dealing with slurs and death threats sort of make me want to dig my heels in on small stuff. And if this isn't a real pin, then they have a 'win' and maybe will chill out?

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 4:34 pm

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Norman Oklahoma
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Anybody can buy iron pins at Home Depot, and they often do. They get hammered into the ground for all kinds of reasons. That is why a surveyor has to make many measurements to various such pins found around the neighborhood - to determine which ones answer the deed and plat dimensions, and which ones are just there to stake up the rose bushes.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 4:44 pm
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Norman Oklahoma
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Posted by: @bill93

Estimate how much land area is in question, and ask yourself how much you are willing to pay to keep/get that area.  The cost of a dispute can easily be an order of magnitude or two over what the land is worth.

That is true, but it is also true that the neighbor is in a snit over a gate post being 12" over a line.  Only the OP can judge for themselves whether to acquiesce or to challenge.  Maybe some money spent now on a good survey will head off a prolonged, acrimonious, and expensive pissing match.

It would probably be best to get the neighbor to choose the surveyor. Offer to share costs, but let them do the choosing. Then if the line turns out to be unfavorable to him  he will be harder for him to deny it. That is, if you think you can accept a line that turns out to be unfavorable to you.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 4:57 pm
Nate The Surveyor, Jitterboogie, Bill93 and 1 people reacted
half bubble
(@half-bubble)
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Every iron pin, every mark however faint, is wrong. The questions become: By how much, and /or how far? And is that acceptable? And perhaps most importantly, does your theoretical point fit comfortably under Jobo's hat with the found iron?

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 5:45 pm

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holy cow
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@half-bubble 

Nice Jobo comment.  Hadn't thought of him for a while.  Great surveyor, in my opinion.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 8:11 pm
RADAR reacted
holy cow
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An iron survey pin can be wrong simply because someone who did not like where it was placed finds the means to pull it up and move to their choice location.

Many years ago I found the back pins on a single lot were about three feet too far south based on everything else I had found.  A fellow from the neighborhood stopped by and asked me how it was going.  He told me that he would bet that I discovered the pins in the back were off by roughly three feet.  In amazement, I asked how he knew that.  He explained that he had seen a realtor locate the pins, pull them up and reset them such that a neighbor's garage would be on the neighbor's property and not more than a foot onto the lot that was for sale at the time.

In another case, we did a survey for the seller.  A month later, the buyer hired us to perform a mortgage survey to assure the lender that everything was where it was supposed to be.  We discovered the seller had pulled one pin and moved it a bit more than 20 feet.  The hole where the pin had been set was found to be the correct location, so we pulled the pin and put it back where it had set in the first place.  That triangle that was 20 feet wide at the base by a length of roughly 900 feet was an area of about 0.20 acres.  The total tract was maybe five or six acres, so that was a significant shortage the seller had attempted to get away with.

 
Posted : September 29, 2022 8:29 pm
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JBStahl
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Posted by: @half-bubble

Every iron pin, every mark however faint, is wrong. The questions become: By how much, and /or how far? And is that acceptable? And perhaps most importantly, does your theoretical point fit comfortably under Jobo's hat with the found iron?

Sorry Half, but I've got to respond to this one.  No disrespect to Jobo. He was an awesome surveyor.  I agree that "every mark however faint, is wrong" by some degree of measure.  Some more, and some less. But... I've never seen one single court case ever that concerned itself with the questions of how much or how far.  Boundary law never goes there. There is no measurement test a surveyor can perform that will tell you if the monument controls the boundary or not. The question always turns to the evidence concerning who did what AFTER the surveyor finished setting the point and walked away. The representations, reliances, responses, actions, and reactions of the landowners after the monument was set are what give meaning to the monument.  It's irrelevant what the size of Jobo's hat was.

 
Posted : October 9, 2022 6:26 am
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