How to Get Permission to Metal Detect Private Property

Updated on March 19, 2020
Matt G. profile image

Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting for old coins and relics.

A 1902 silver Barber dime I found metal detecting a private property permission.
A 1902 silver Barber dime I found metal detecting a private property permission.

Getting Permission for Metal Detecting

Private property around old homes, both abandoned and occupied, have produced some of my best finds metal detecting. Unless you're fortunate enough to live in a historical area with older parks and school grounds that have been overlooked, finding silver coins in public places alone is difficult. In my area, the parks are hunted out.

Metal detecting private property around old homes is the fastest way to find rare coins and relics for your collection, but first, you have to get permission.

I'll admit, I don't enjoy door knocking. Even after knocking on dozens of doors, it's still a little awkward and discouraging at times, but it's worth the effort. The oldest coin I've ever found came from the backyard of a private home.

Before you start knocking on doors with your metal detector, my tips in this article will help increase your success rate for landing more permissions. It's easier than you think when done right.

Asking for Permission to Metal Detect

When door-knocking, you'll meet some friendly property owners who say yes without hesitation and others who will be quick to say no and close the door. You have to expect to be told no sometimes, but don't let it ruin your day.

Successfully getting permission to metal detect an occupied home takes a little practice. The first time you ring that doorbell you'll be nervous, but the interaction becomes a lot easier the more you do it.

Be Confident

Acting nervous will make the homeowner feel uneasy and suspicious. You're more likely to be denied permission. Be friendly and confident, but keep the conversation light and to the point.

I always take my sunglasses off and back away from the door after ringing the bell. Tell the homeowner who you are and what you're doing. Using a business card with your contact information helps with credibility. In my case, I own a local business and sometimes I'll give people my card so they know I live in the area and serve the community.

Choose Your Words Wisely

What you say to the property owner is important, but don't overthink it or you might sound like a scripted door to door salesman.

Simply introduce yourself, tell the property owner you do metal detecting as a hobby and detect around historical homes for old stuff on the weekend. Ask them if it would be okay to metal detect their front yard for a couple of hours. That's the simple approach that works for me.

Words you should avoid saying include:

  • Dig
  • Treasure
  • Silver coins
  • Shovel
  • Rings

Most of the stuff I find with my metal detector, specifically coins, usually aren't worth much more than their face value, but the homeowner doesn't know that. Telling them you look for old coins, or treasure, might make them think their yard's filled with high-priced valuables when we know that typically isn't the case.

People will ask how you recover objects, but don't tell them you dig holes, or use a shovel. Instead, tell them you cut a small plug with a hand-held tool that doesn't leave holes in the ground, or a mess behind. I recommend using a hand-held digging tool, like the Lesche digger, instead of t-handle shovel, at least for the first time detecting a new permission.

Always Ask in Person

I can tell you from experience that the best way to get permission is to knock on the door and ask the homeowner in person. I've asked via email and text message too, but it doesn't work. In fact, you're more likely to be denied permission without asking in person.

I've also found that asking a homeowner who's outside in the yard works better than knocking on the door. I'll park in the street and ask them from the sidewalk without even having to walk onto the property.

Metal Detecting Permission Form

Unless you're overly concerned about liability issues, using a permission form before detecting around an occupied home isn't necessary.

When detecting unoccupied land, having the property owner sign off on a permission form is useful in the event the police, or a concerned neighbor, show up to ask what you're doing. You can find free permission forms online to print out.

Do Property Owners Want to Keep Your Finds?

Imagine finding a rare silver coin in someone's yard that you want to keep for your collection, but the property owner wants it. After all, it's their property. Does that happen? Surprisingly, I've metal detected dozens of homes without encountering a homeowner wanting to keep my finds, or really even caring to see what I found in their yard.

Splitting finds, or having the property owner make a contractural agreement before detecting, is something you have to decide for yourself. There is always the chance that the homeowner will want to keep your finds, but that's the risk you take when you go metal detecting on private property.

Having a mutual agreement in advance, or at least an idea in your head, in terms of what you're willing to split with the property owner, is definitely wise in the event you find something valuable.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Matt G.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)