What Is the Legal Description of a Property?

by | Oct 20, 2020 | Surveying Related

If you’re buying or selling a particular property. You need to know what you’re getting. What are the boundary lines of the property? How much are you buying? How much do you price the amount you are selling?

You often read lot sizes or property dimensions in property descriptions. But how are those measured? What is the legal description of a property?

Read on to learn how the legal definition of a property and how it’s created and measured.

What Is the Legal Description of a Property?

The legal description of property gets created and recorded, often with a county tax assessor or county clerk, to identify a piece of property.

This legal description must have enough detailed information that the land could be located and identified based on the descriptors in the legal description.

There are a few ways this legal description can get created:

  • Government survey
  • Metes and bounds survey (more on this later) 
  • Using lot numbers of a recorded plat

Professional land surveyors have training to create these legal descriptions of a piece of land or property.

What Is Metes and Bounds?

metes and bounds survey is a system that’s been around for centuries. It uses a public surveying system for starting points to help locate a particular piece of property.

A township, for example, has both north and south lines and east and west lines with easily identifiable markers. Then a surveyor can use those reestablished lines to help them identify a parcel of land or property based on those markers.

The metes portion of the survey often describes the distance or measurement between two identifiable points. The bounds part of the survey is often used when there is a larger plot of land, for example with many acres. It uses the boundaries of the property in its description.

What Is a Lot and Block Survey?

If you live in a neighborhood where each house has its own square plot of land holding the house, it’s likely the land description was created using the lot and block survey system.

The lot and block survey will contain:

  • Individual lots
  • Block locations
  • Place of the official recording
  • Reference to the cited plat map

When a lot and block survey gets created, it’s a part of a bigger survey map too.

Monuments Survey

A monument survey uses ground markers that are placed to help guide the survey of the property. These are also known as survey markers or geodetic markers.

Often these monuments or markers are made of concrete or metal stakes. They help to establish where to start to measure for a survey of a piece of land.

When Is a Legal Description Needed?

In most cases, a legal description is used when there is a sale of property from one owner to another. It verifies the exact land size and boundaries of the property.

If you are having a dispute with a neighbor over land, a legal description can help to define what land belongs to who.

Legal Description of a Property

What is the legal description of a property? Now you understand that the legal description helps to define the land size and boundaries of a piece of property.

If you are in the process of buying or selling property or need to have a better understanding of your property, contact us today for information on obtaining the legal description of your property.