The Legal Description of Property Importance In Real Estate

Written By:

Post Publish Date -Updated::

When purchasing land, you need to understand the legal description of a property and why it is essential for your real estate purchase.

The legal description of the land or property is a written record that will show precisely what land it is yours. It is a legal document that can be used if a legal dispute over land arises. There are three basic methods by which boundaries are shown for lands Rectangular Survey System, Metes and Bounds, and Blocks and Lots.

Table of Contents

The legal description in real estate is a written record that helps you precisely understand what you are buying. The legal description of a piece of land contains information that identifies the land.

It can get confusing that a legal description of real estate can be written in a few different forms depending on where the property is located in the United States or even the world. The descriptions will be similar in similar geographic locations and follow the same kind of wording and language.

No matter how it is written, the legal description is essential. It will help a surveyor to accurately know the property lines as the legal description helps give the legal boundaries of the land.

A legal description will usually appear on the sales contracts and the property deed. It is also a legal document that will be viewed during a property dispute.

Even though wording for legal description differs according to geographic location, there are some things that a legal description should always include. Anyone purchasing real estate should check the legal description on the real estate purchase document.

Here is the thing the legal description should include:

The most common methods to create a legal description in real estate are a rectangular survey, metes and bounds, and the lot and block system.

To help ensure that the legal description is clear for the surveyor to go back later to understand boundaries, three primary methods are used for the legal description in real estate. The use of these three basic methods helps ensure that any competent surveyor will be able to understand the boundaries of the land.

Rectangular Survey System In Real Estate

The rectangular survey system established the boundaries of large tracts of land in the United States. As the United States began to expand westward, there became a need to understand the boundaries of these large tracts of land.

The Public land Survey System (PLSS) is also known as the Rectangular Survey System. US President Jefferson proposed this system for land surveys.

The rectangular survey system comprises north-to-south lines called meridians intersected with the east-to-west lines known as baselines. The intersections of these lines become the origin point of the central building block of the grid system.

These building blocks also tell us where the township is. A township can be, for example, 100 mi.² area divided into 36 separate sections. The sections can then be divided into half, quarter, and smaller sections.

In reality, every piece of land under the rectangular survey system is then defined according to the portion of the section that it covers.

Metes And Bounds In Real Estate

Metes and bounds are when real estate boundaries are identified by using a natural landmark. The metes and bounds are often used in a legal land description.

There is a starting point and the land boundary in the metes and bounds for a legal description. In legal descriptions, metes and bounds are considered the most accurate descriptions of a piece of land in some jurisdictions.

A mete and bound has a starting point and then traces the outline of the property until there is a closure. This diagram shows the entire land area and size.

Many of the natural descriptions that can be used include monuments, including artificial monuments and other natural boundaries such as trees, rivers, roads, etc.

Lot And Blocks In Real Estate

The lot and block system is another system used in land descriptions. The lot and block system is also known as the recorded plat survey or recorded map survey system.

The lot and block system usually starts with a large tract of land that another survey system has already described, such as metes and bounds or rectangular (Public Land Survey System).

The larger parcel of land is then divided into smaller lots and blocks. The survey will often show the divisions on a plat map, usually recorded in a county recorder’s office where the property is located.

Usually, the plat map will use a metes and bounds system to show the boundaries, but the individual lots will then be marked to show the subdivision or the division on the land.

What is essential here is once the plat map has been recorded in the public county records offices, then the plat map will become the legal description of all the lots in the subdivision or the blocks and lots on the plat map.

All of these aspects are important for the legal descriptions of the land. The legal description of the land is vital as it helps show the exact boundaries of the land.

Anyone looking to purchase land or a home on the land should know and understand the boundaries of the land they are buying. One of the best ways to do this is to look at your legal description of purchasing land.

Real Estate Crunch gives you real property and real estate information and advice. We offer a free monthly newsletter; you can sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

We also have a weekly podcast called “Real Estate Crunch,” found on all major podcast platforms. Listen to our podcast by clicking here.

Follow us on our social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a legal description of land or property?

A legal description of land or property is a written record that provides precise information about the boundaries and characteristics of a particular piece of land. It is a legally recognized document that uniquely identifies the property.

Why is a legal description of land important?

A legal description of land is important because it serves as an official record that accurately defines the boundaries of a property. It is used for various purposes, such as property sales, real estate transactions, and resolving legal disputes related to land ownership.

What are the three basic methods used for showing boundaries in a legal description?

The three basic methods used for showing boundaries in a legal description are:
a) Rectangular Survey System: This method divides land into townships, ranges, and sections based on a grid system.
b) Metes and Bounds: This method uses physical landmarks, distances, and directions to describe the boundaries of a property.
c) Blocks and Lots: This method is commonly used in urban areas and involves dividing land into blocks and assigning lot numbers to individual parcels.

How does the Rectangular Survey System work?

The Rectangular Survey System, also known as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), divides land into townships, which are further divided into ranges and sections. Each township is a square area of land measuring six miles by six miles, containing 36 sections, each measuring one square mile.

What is the Metes and Bounds method?

The Metes and Bounds method describes land boundaries using physical features and measurements. It involves specifying distances, directions, and angles from a starting point (called a point of beginning) and tracing the perimeter of the property, often using natural landmarks or man-made monuments.

How does the Blocks and Lots system work?

The Blocks and Lots system is commonly used in urban areas. It involves dividing land into blocks, which are then further subdivided into individual lots. Each lot is assigned a unique number or identifier, allowing for easy identification and reference.

Can a legal description of land change?

Yes, a legal description of land can change under certain circumstances. For example, if there is a subdivision or consolidation of parcels, a boundary adjustment, or a change in land use, the legal description may need to be updated to reflect the new configuration or boundaries.

Who creates a legal description of land?

A legal description of land is typically created by a licensed surveyor or a professional familiar with land surveying and legal documentation. They ensure that the description accurately reflects the physical boundaries of the property and complies with applicable laws and regulations.

What Happens If You Leave Furniture In An Apartment?

When people rent an apartment, they want to leave behind their unwanted items, including furniture. They may feel that because the landlord has the deposit, the landlord should be responsible for moving it and taking it out of the apartment.

By clicking here, you can read more about What Happens If You Leave Furniture In An Apartment?

The Real Estate Bundle Of Rights Explained

A bundle of rights is your right as a property owner. It is all the rights you have to your property as the rightful and outright owner. Understanding these rates and whether you have full access to all your rights or if there may be HOA or local laws that may put exceptions onto your bundle of rights is essential.

By clicking here, you can read more about The Real Estate Bundle Of Rights Explained.

Anita Hummel
Follow Me

Share Our Blogs On Social Media