Legal Description

I am OCD about certain things, ZIP codes is one of them (I have to add the four digits) and Legal Descriptions of land is another.  I have to run out the metes and bounds. Metes and bounds is a way of depicting the boundaries of a piece of land through recorded points, angles, directions, and distances.  Surveying is not an exact science, however, and I have seen errors, and errors make a difference. The Legal Description of a property is one of the bones of a real estate contract (along with the names of the buyers and sellers, terms, and signature of the party to be charged by the contract).  That is why I do not accept the Legal Description as written; I have to go look it up as part of the due diligence of a real estate deal. Also note, the Legal Description is NOT the same as the Tax Reference.  (The Tax Reference is only for the assessment of taxes—NOT the conveyance of the property.)   Read More

Hansel & Gretel Off the Map

Once upon a time Hansel and Gretel got a great deal on a nice piece of property just at the edge of a dark forest.  The land had been surveyed by the previous owner not three months prior, so Hansel and Gretel decided not to get a new survey.  They were ignorant children after all, and thought they were smart to save that little bit of money, but because the property was not clearly marked, they wandered off into the forest without so much as breadcrumbs to mark their path. Consequently Hansel and Gretel came upon another landowner who lived in a delicious candy house.  She fattened them with promises to help, and then popped them both into her oven so she could claim their property was a part of hers with no dispute.   If I told you NOT to get a survey, my degree would fall off the wall—some risks are not worth taking.  Survey the risks, and if a deal looks too good to be true, hire an attorney to look at it. Read More