Any time you buy new property, ensure you have a land survey done. It doesn't matter if the land is empty or has a house on it already. You want to know exactly what you're buying and how far out from the structure your rights go. This is common sense in and of itself, but it also gives you important information should someone try to use land you thought was yours. When you have an official record of boundaries and permissions, you can avoid a lot of legal problems.
Fight Claims of Unknown Easement Rights
Land surveys do more than just state land boundaries. They also contain information about easements or certain permissions for others to use your property. A common type of easement allows a neighbour to drive on part of your property to reach their property, such as sharing a driveway. Other easements may involve public paths crossing land, or a neighbour's ability to reach the edge of a lake that's technically on your property. Sometimes people confuse permission from a landowner with an actual easement. If you buy property, and a neighbour claims they have an easement that allows them to cross your land to reach their home, you want to know if that's a real easement, and if so, what are the limits of that easement. If you find there is no easement, then you have to determine if you want to take action and stop the crossing, or set up a new, legal easement.
Ensure Your Fencing Doesn't Take Anyone's Land
Boundaries between properties can be difficult to determine when the boundary follows rocky or steep terrain. If you want to install a fence around your property, you need to know exactly where your land ends so that you don't cut off your neighbour's access to their land by mistake. Your fence needs to be on your property as the neighbour could sue you to have the fence moved back. If you can show that you have a survey showing that you are constructing the fence on your property only, you can fight off any complaints from your neighbour.
Establish Who Is Responsible for Tree and Land Upkeep
In cities with distinct backyard boundaries, it's easy to tell which tree is whose and where your landscaping duties begin and end. In more rural areas where there may not be a fence visible for kilometres, it can be a little tougher to tell who is responsible for a problem on the land. And if a tree needs to be removed due to damage, for example — which involves permitting and expense — you may suddenly find your neighbours claiming it's yours. But if you have a land survey done, you'll know whether that tree and the surrounding property are your responsibility.
Get that land survey done and keep a copy accessible at all times. With proof of what property you have and who's legally allowed to use it, you'll have more control over your peace of mind should someone make a claim to some of that land. Contact a land surveyor for more information.