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Metes and Bounds Legal Descriptions

LonetreebymichiganlakeOne of the longest, and sometimes confusing, legal descriptions for real estate is the Metes and Bounds Legal Description. It may be a description that reads as follows, A parcel of land situated in the NW of Section 23, T11N-R9W, XYZ Township, ABC County, being described as beginning at the Northwest corner of said section 23, thence directly south 330 feet along North section line, thence 1320 feet West, thence 330 feet north, thence 1320 feet east to the point of beginning.

Now, that description is an example of a simple, easy to read land description. When reading land descriptions, there are a few things you should know and a few terms you should be familiar with. The POB, or point of beginning, is where the survey starts and later will end. The measurements are in usually in feet. At times, an older survey may contain terms, such as, Rods (16 feet), Links (7.92 inches), Chains (66 feet), or other units of measurement.

The other element in a survey is the directions. In our simple example above, we just used the four directions, North, East, South and West. Many times the property lines do not run directly North/ South or East/ West, the description will include degrees of the turn with compass bearings. Remember that 360 degrees is a full circle, there are 60 degrees minutes in a full degree, and 60 seconds for each minute.

You guessed it, descriptions can be confusing and complex, but it helps if you know the meaning of some of the old English words that may be used. Metes which means distance, and bounds which means direction, are some of the words that may be used. The purpose of a property description is to give the reader directions he can follow to walk the properties boundaries.

Written by Dave.