Help with reading legal description

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SouthernThunder, May 19, 2005.

  1. SouthernThunder

    SouthernThunder Well-Known Member

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    My smaller parcel of land contains 15 acres and is bordered on the E by a winding road. The legal description contains a confusing set of caridinal directions, degrees, and measurements. (For example: North 89 degrees 50 feet east 159.36 feet...)

    The other ones are pretty simple. (NE 1/2 of the NE 1/2 etc) I know how to read these.

    Is anyone familiar with this kind of legal description? Can anyone give me a run down on how to read it? I probably need to get it right before I run a fence in this area but I sure as heck am not paying for a survey. Thanks!
     
  2. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    Ummmmmmmmmm, I used to know that stuff pretty well, but haven't done any real estate or drawn any plats in quite some time. The thing I do know is that if those courses are on your deed, the somewhere there is a survey already done. It takes a survey to wrote those type of courses. So, you might want to check with the realtor who listed and sold the property to you; or the lawyer who handled your purchase of the property; or the lawyer who handled the sale for the person you bought the property from; or every surveyor in a hundred mile radius of where you're at to see if he's the one who did it and if you can get a copy of it (probably cost a few bucks, but not as much as a whole new survey); or the county clerk's/recorder's office where sometimes surveys are records; or maybe the neighbor on that side has a survey from when he bought his place. hehehe That should keep you busy for a while, and you'll probably find what you're looking for. But take my word for it, the person (lawyer?) who originally wrote that description was looking at a survey map when they wrote it. Good luck!
     

  3. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    I've been thinking about this -- I told you I haven't done it for a while -- and it occurred to me that the last survey that was used to make that description of the land on your deed may be set out on your deed. After the deed says: ALL THAT TRACT OR PARCEL OF LAND and gives all those courses and measurements, it should say something like:

    As set forth on a survey by John Q. Smith, PE, dated X-date, and recorded in the XXX County Clerk's Office on X-date, in Book #X of Maps, at Page #X, being and intending to convey the same premises conveyed to the party of the first part (seller) by (whoever sold it to the sellers), as set forth in a deed dated on some date prior to your buying it, and recorded in the XXX County Clerk's Office on X-date, in Book #X of Deeds, at Page #X, &c.

    So that survey may well be right there on you deed. If it's recorded all it will take is a trip to the County Clerk's Office and a few bucks to get a copy.

    MaryNY
     
  4. posifour11

    posifour11 Well-Known Member

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    in most cases, there should be a survey stake at the main corners of your property. chances are that you could luck out and find them with a metal detector ( they are usually rebar or big spikes) the description should give a starting point to follow the directions like " north from the NE corner......."

    0 degrees should be the direction stated in the description, degrees should be read clockwise.

    sorry if this is review, but i thought i'd cover some basics
     
  5. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Degrees aren't always read clockwise in a land description - they go in the direction the line says. I would use the example given but it isn't correct. Say it was "North 89 degrees east 159.36 feet" then you face due north holding a compass, turn 89 degrees to the East and then walk 159.36 feet in a straight line. Hopefully you will find a corner stake. When you get there, face due north again and repeat. If the directions say S49W you face South, turn 49 degrees to the West, and so on. Some lines will say "with Smith's line reversed" - ignore that bit and follow the part that gives the actual description of the line (if you remember your geometry from school S49W is N49E reversed) - because some of your land follows the meanders of the road you might have to use the reverse technique to find each end of the meandering line. PM me with the description if you want me to plot it out for you (I find drawing it first makes it lots easier to follow).
     
  6. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    An additional thought I had (told you it's been a long time) is that if the road on that side of the property is a "dedicated" road - usually paved and maintained by the town/county/state, there may well be a survey/map of the roadway on file at the County Clerk's Office, and you could check that out, too. There should be surveyor's markers there, too, but it is important that you know that it is illegal to remove them or alter them in any way -- like if they get in the way of your fence or something like that. I hope you find the surveys and/or the markers. Let us know how you make out.
     
  7. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    If the road runs along your property on that side then that description is describing the right-of-way of the road. All you really have to know for fencing purposes is what the county's right of way is from the center of the road and that's where your property line would be.

    A road cuts our place in two with half on one side and half on the other side and the description on the deed is just like you're describing. There is a right-of-way marker here so it's easy to find.
     
  8. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

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    Do you have title insurance?

    The title insurance company may have a copy of the last survey.