June 15, 2024

Legal Description of Property – Everything You Need to Know

Understanding the Legal Description of Property

When it comes to buying or selling a property, understanding the legal description is essential. The legal description of a property is a detailed and precise way to identify and locate the boundaries of a piece of land. It provides information that is necessary for legal and administrative purposes, such as property transfers, zoning regulations, and land use restrictions.

What Does a Legal Description Include?

A legal description typically includes several key elements. Firstly, it includes the exact measurements and dimensions of the property, including the length and width of each boundary line. It may also include information about the shape of the property, such as irregular or rectangular. Additionally, it includes references to key landmarks, such as roads, rivers, or neighboring properties, that help to identify the property’s location.

Types of Legal Descriptions

There are different types of legal descriptions used in real estate, depending on the location and purpose. Metes and bounds descriptions involve using physical landmarks and compass directions to define the boundaries. Lot and block descriptions are commonly used in subdivisions, where a plat map divides the land into lots and blocks. Government survey descriptions are based on a system of meridians, baselines, and range lines established by the government.

Why is a Legal Description Important?

A legal description is important for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that there is no confusion or ambiguity about the boundaries of a property. This is especially crucial when disputes arise over property lines or easements. Secondly, it provides a clear and accurate record of the property, which is important for title searches, property appraisals, and mortgage financing. Lastly, it helps to establish the rights and responsibilities of the property owner, such as zoning restrictions or utility easements.

How to Find the Legal Description of a Property

To find the legal description of a property, you can start by looking at the deed or title documents. These documents usually contain a description of the property, including the legal description. You can also search for the property’s legal description on county property records or online databases. If you are unsure or need assistance, it is best to consult with a real estate attorney or a licensed surveyor.

Can a Legal Description Change?

In certain situations, a legal description of a property can change. This can occur when there is a subdivision or consolidation of land, when an easement is created or extinguished, or when a boundary dispute is resolved. Any changes to the legal description should be properly recorded and updated in the official property records.

The Importance of Accuracy in Legal Descriptions

Accuracy is of utmost importance when it comes to legal descriptions. Even a minor error or omission in the legal description can lead to significant legal and financial consequences. It is crucial to ensure that the legal description is correctly written and accurately represents the property’s boundaries. Any discrepancies or issues should be addressed and resolved before finalizing any real estate transactions.

Professional Assistance for Legal Descriptions

Given the importance and complexity of legal descriptions, it is highly recommended to seek professional assistance. Real estate attorneys, licensed surveyors, or title companies can provide expert guidance and ensure that the legal description is accurate and legally binding. Investing in professional help can save you time, money, and potential legal troubles in the future.


The legal description of a property is a vital component in any real estate transaction. It provides a precise and detailed definition of the property’s boundaries and aids in determining ownership, rights, and restrictions. Understanding the legal description and seeking professional assistance when needed can help avoid any legal complications and ensure a smooth and successful property transaction.