How to Get the Legal Description of a Property

How to Get the Legal Description of a Property

When it comes to buying or selling a property, understanding its legal description is essential. The legal description provides specific details about the boundaries and dimensions of a property, ensuring that all parties involved have a clear understanding of its location and size. Obtaining the legal description of a property is a relatively straightforward process, and this article will guide you through the steps involved.

What is a Legal Description?

A legal description is a detailed written account that accurately describes a property’s boundaries and location. It is used to identify and differentiate a particular property from others. A legal description typically includes information such as lot numbers, block numbers, subdivision names, metes and bounds, or the official plat or survey of a property.

Why is a Legal Description Important?

A legal description is crucial for various reasons, including:

1. Property Identification: A legal description ensures that there is no confusion about the property’s location or boundaries. It helps identify the specific property being referred to in legal documents.

2. Property Transactions: When buying or selling a property, the legal description is necessary to ensure that both parties are referring to the same property in the transaction.

3. Boundary Disputes: In the event of a boundary dispute or encroachment issue, the legal description is used to determine the exact boundaries of the property.

4. Title Insurance: Title insurance companies require a legal description to issue a policy. It helps protect the buyer and the lender from any potential ownership disputes or claims.

How to Obtain a Legal Description:

1. Property Deed: The property deed is the most accessible and commonly used source for obtaining a legal description. The deed contains the legal description of the property and can be obtained from the county recorder’s office where the property is located. Visit the office in person, search their online database, or request a copy by mail.

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2. County Assessor’s Office: The county assessor’s office maintains property records and can provide the legal description. They may have an online database where you can search for the property and access its legal description.

3. Surveyor’s Office: If the property has recently been surveyed, the surveyor’s office will have the legal description on file. Contact the surveyor who conducted the survey and request a copy of the legal description.

4. Title Company: If you are working with a title company during a property transaction, they can provide you with the legal description. Title companies perform extensive research to ensure the property’s title is clear and can provide all relevant documentation, including the legal description.


1. Can I find the legal description of a property online?
In some cases, yes. Many county recorder’s offices and assessor’s offices have online databases where you can search for a property and access its legal description. However, not all counties have this feature, so you may need to visit the office in person or request a copy by mail.

2. Can I use the address to find the legal description of a property?
While the address is helpful, it is not sufficient on its own to obtain the legal description. The legal description provides precise details about the property’s boundaries and dimensions, which cannot be determined solely from the address.

3. Is the legal description the same as the address?
No, the legal description and the address are two different things. The address is used for mailing purposes and general identification, while the legal description provides specific information about the property’s boundaries and location.

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4. What if I cannot find the legal description of a property?
If you are unable to find the legal description through the county recorder’s office, assessor’s office, or surveyor’s office, consult with a real estate attorney. They can assist you in obtaining the necessary documentation or researching alternative methods to obtain the legal description.

In conclusion, obtaining the legal description of a property is crucial for various real estate transactions and boundary identification. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily obtain the legal description and ensure a smooth and accurate property transaction. If you encounter any difficulties, consult with professionals such as county offices, surveyors, title companies, or real estate attorneys, who can guide you through the process.