When it comes to accurately surveying and assessing a given tract of land, such as a subdivision, there are multiple formats that will generally be used all within the same assessment. Those you’re likely familiar with are areas like residential land surveying, which involve visual diagrams that depict the precise qualities of the property, from boundary lines to elevations and numerous other areas.
At Diamond Land Surveying, we provide a variety of such services, including our residential subdivision surveys and many others, and we’re here to tell you that these visual diagrams – while extremely important and often the foundation of any such survey – are not necessarily the only parts involved. In particular, there’s another element known as a “legal description” – what is this, and how do certain written elements of the survey play an important role? Let’s take a look at some of the basics here.
Legal Description Basics
Also known as a property description or a boundary description, a legal description is a written element of the survey that describes the tract of land. It offers basic qualities of the land that will help a surveyor identify a given area, helping convey the property’s location with specific details.
In many cases, legal descriptions are used to help transfer land from one party to another during a sale. Information provided by the legal description should not be considered legal advice, which must come from an attorney, but it can help inform such legal advice in many cases.
Types of Legal Descriptions
Legal descriptions can be written in a couple different ways to help identify property characteristics, including:
- Recorded subdivision lot: This is a description type common in urban areas, with a reference to the basic lot number, block number, subdivision name plus recording information for the subdivision plat (this is at the Recorder of Deeds). This information makes it easier for surveyors to conduct their work, with adjoining properties displayed on the same plat in an easy-to-read format.
- Metes and bounds: This description type is less common, but is used in some rural areas to describe strangely shaped land tracts. It uses terms like quarter, section, township and range along with directional markers to help identify properties.
In addition to the legal description, many subdivision surveys will also include what’s known as an owner’s dedication. This is a section where the undersigned owners of a given property within the survey certify their desire to split the property into lots, streets, parks and other public purposes, allowing for public use of the area.
For more on legal descriptions and how they complement visual boundary surveys, or to learn about any of our property survey services, speak to the staff at Diamond Land Surveying today.