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Whether you own a modest parcel or a sprawling domain, unwanted trespassers are always a concern. You deserve to be confident that your property is exclusively your own to enjoy, but how do you go about stopping uninvited interlopers? It’s a difficult question that every property owner must face at some point. Fortunately, there are several simple solutions that can help you safeguard your property and gain invaluable peace of mind.
Keep Your Property Posted
Everyone knows it’s illegal to trespass on private land, but there’s a key detail many people miss. For these laws to be enforceable, you need to make sure that any would-be trespasser knows they’re on your private property. That’s why keeping your land posted with the proper signage is crucial. It serves as both a potential deterrent and a legal notice to ensure you can enforce your boundaries.
However, it’s not quite as simple as just posting up some signs along your property lines. Each state has its own particular regulations regarding where and how to post your property. Depending on the laws in your state, you may also need to register your posting with the local town clerk or land office. Still, the minor inconvenience of properly posting your property is a small price to pay to keep your land protected.
Limit and Control Access Points
The reality is that there’s not much you can do to physically keep out someone who is determined to enter your property. In most cases, however, trespassers are simply opportunistic and can be easily dissuaded. You can make your property less easily accessible by using fences, gates and other physical barriers. Take some time to consider where trespassers are most likely to enter your property and focus on these areas in particular.
You can also use natural vegetation to create effective barriers that blend seamlessly into the surrounding land. Plant a combination of trees, shrubs and warm-season grasses along the borders of your property to help deter uninvited guests. These natural barriers also have the added benefit of making it more difficult for onlookers to see your property. For the best coverage and protection, consider using evergreen trees and perennial grasses that won’t need to be replanted every year.
Enlist Some Help
Robert Frost had the right idea when he wrote that good fences make good neighbors. Of course, the inverse is often true as well. Developing good relationships with your neighbors is often as effective a deterrent against trespassers as any sign or physical barrier. Good neighbors tend to keep an eye out for one another and are more likely to let you know if they’ve seen something suspicious on your property. They can also be extremely helpful when you aren’t around to monitor the property yourself.
On the other hand, it’s important to be careful about what you say to others. Boasting about the trophy bucks you’ve seen or all the work you’ve done to boost your property’s value can be tempting, but it may also make you a bigger target for trespassers. It’s better to keep a lower profile and avoid unwanted attention.
Capture It on Camera
Few things can make would-be lawbreakers reconsider their actions more quickly than the presence of a camera. Simply posting a few cameras in highly visible locations is often enough to dissuade visitors from taking liberties with your private land. It’s also a good idea to add some well-concealed cameras in the event that a particularly bold trespasser attempts to steal or damage the ones you’ve left in plain sight. Even if the cameras don’t turn a trespasser away, they’re still useful for collecting evidence that can later be used to prosecute the intruder.
It’s important to note that cameras are subject to a variety of regulations in many areas. In particular, it’s very important to review your local laws before installing cameras that capture video. Some states require that you post clear notices anywhere visitors may be recorded on video. Recording audio often introduces further legal complications, so it’s best to avoid capturing sound altogether. The goal is simply to make sure people know that they can’t access your property without being seen.
You have every right to control who can and cannot legally enter your property. Of course, having the right and having the ability are often two separate matters. The tips above will help you deter interlopers and make your property a less appealing target. It’s also important to act swiftly and seek prosecution if you do catch a trespasser on your land. In the end, the best deterrent is often simply making it clear that encroaching on your property comes with real consequences.
Original article written by Russell Jones, founder of PropertyWorkshop.com, and can be found at https://www.landhub.com/blog/how-to-keep-trespassers-off-your-land/
As the world population continues to grow, the demand for quality land will inevitability grow as well. According to the laws of supply and demand, quality land can expect to slowly increase in value over time. If you don’t want to wait around for years for that to happen, here are five steps you can take to help increase the value of your land.
1. Improve Access
Even if you have the perfect property in America, the chances of the land selling will plummet if the property does not include access or has poor access. Not having access will severely limit the amount and type of buyers. To gain deeded access to a property, you may have to reach an agreement with nearby neighbors, do some serious construction, or even go to court. To learn more about the best ways to handle access easements, check out this article from land expert Eric Leisy, ALC, about the best ways to handle the most difficult situations.
Even if you do have legal access, there might be roadblocks such as untrimmed woodland, a road filled with potholes, or a stream blocking smooth egress and ingress from the land. Do whatever you can to make sure accessing the property is as easy as possible. Making it easier to access the property makes it much more appealing to buyers.
2. Add Utility Lines
According to a recent LANDTHINK Pulse Survey, 74 percent of respondents said that electricity is the top logistical concern when searching for land in a rural community.
Adding utility lines can be costly, but they are in such high demand that not having them will significantly lower the value of your property. Running utilities may be simpler in urban areas, where you may be able to just connect to lines on the street and pay the hookup fee. In rural areas, this may take a little more money and work, but will be worth it when it comes time to sell.
3. Build Structures
In most cases, adding structures such as homes, storage sheds, barns, and other structures can help increase the value of your land. This advice doesn’t apply for every land type or every structure. For example, it likely wouldn’t add value to your land if you added a hunting cabin in the middle of your vineyard. The structure needs to be beneficial to the current or future land use.
4. Add or Improve Gates
The entrance to the property is one of the first things a client will see, so you want them to create a good first impression. Gates can also protect your property from trespassers.
“New gates should be properly sized to accommodate any future needs. Consider whether there will be future timber harvests, and the width needed to get equipment through the access point,” says Chris Miller in his article on perfecting your gates. “It is preferable to have the gate installed slightly off the main road so you can easily pull in to open it without having to stop on the road shoulder. The gate also should be installed so that it will not sag and drag on the ground, or not align with their latches properly.”
5. Get a Survey
Many people are reluctant to fork over the cash for a survey. This is understandable—it’s not cheap to increase the value of your land. However, the information you can get from a land survey is incredibly valuable. This information includes:
- The boundaries of the property
- any restrictions attached to the property
- the topography and soil types of the property
- the location of any easements
“In my territory, the land is not flat and often times you can’t see from one corner to another,” says Bob Stalberger, ALC. “Spending the money to hire a professional surveyor to mark your property boundary corners as well as points between the corners will make a buyer more comfortable when purchasing your property. It also allows you to easily establish or maintain your property line. This can also be helpful when doing any logging, adding a trial system, food plots, water locations or even hanging stands and posting your property.”
These are just a few examples of ways you can increase the value of your land. We hope this article has inspired you to think of what other ways you can add value to your property. Working with an Accredited Land Consultant is one surefire way to sell your land for the highest possible value.
This article was originally posted in the Lands of America Blog by Laura Barker of RLI.