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Using the Lot & Block Survey System

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

This lesson outlines how pieces of real estate are identified using the lot and block survey system. This system provides a means of recognizing additions, subdivisions, and addresses within a plat.

Lot and Block Survey System Definition

How does a property owner know the legal boundaries of their land? Can they really rely on that fence or landscaping edge as a true and perfect property line? The lot and block survey system provides a way to be sure.

Lot and block is the latest development in real estate survey methods. It builds upon previous methods and can be used to clearly identify properties in dense urban and suburban areas. A plat is a larger chunk of land area previously identified by another survey method. Using a system of metes and bounds, the land is divided into smaller chunks. Each chunk can be further broken up, or subdivided, until the whole plat resembles something like a city map.

Each subdivision of a lot becomes a unique legal property. Property owners can also purchase adjoining lots as an addition. This effectively undoes the subdivision and turns two pieces or real estate into one. The process is not automatic, and is a separate transaction made after the purchase. After the subdivision process is complete, the plat is recorded with the local government. This recording becomes the legal description of land and lots within the city. These descriptions are kept available to the public for a variety of uses. This description can specifically identify a property as part of a real estate sale or for tax assessments. It can also be used to defend any legal claims that involve the property boundaries.

Property Identification

Lot and Block Survey Sample
Lot and Block Survey Sample Plat

Let's look at how to identify a property by its legal description using the lot and block survey. Let's start with an individual piece of land, or lot. It might be identified by a street number, or by a different number or letter used by the developer for identification purposes. The lot has the exact lines and measurements identified by metes and bounds techniques. The exact measurements make it possible to plainly identify the exact legal boundaries of that lot.

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