The Real Estate Encyclopedia
What Is Meant By The Term Legal Description?
Category - Home Selling Questions - Selling Legal & Closing FAQ's

Legal description is a description of a piece of land of real property, which is acceptable by the courts of the state in which the property is located for use in real property conveyance documents.  The description should be complete enough for a surveyor to locate and identify the bounds of the property. 


A legal description is required on all deeds, assignments of lease and mortgages and is used in most contracts for deed.  Methods of description are lot, block and subdivision, government survey and metes and bounds.  Use of temporary descriptions such as an address or tax bill description is generally inadequate for use in recorded title documents.  Use of such temporary descriptions could lead to difficulties in searching the chain of title or trying to locate the property in the distant future.  In general, a legal description should be used in any instrument that is to be recorded. 


The general rules in case of conflicts in legal descriptions are


       natural or artificial monuments prevail over courses and distances.

       natural monuments prevail over artificial monuments.

       courses govern over distances.

       stated acreage or area is the least reliable method of describing a parcel .


Home Selling Questions - Selling Legal & Closing FAQ's
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