Legal Descriptions in Idaho Real Estate: A Guide for Buyers and Sellers

When it comes to buying or selling real estate in Idaho, having a clear and accurate legal description is crucial. Legal descriptions provide a precise and detailed account of the property boundaries, allowing buyers and sellers to understand the exact location and size of the land involved. In Idaho, there are three main types of legal descriptions commonly used: metes and bounds, government rectangular survey system, and plat maps.

1. Metes and Bounds

Metes and bounds is one of the oldest methods of legal description and is often used for irregularly shaped parcels of land. This method relies on physical landmarks and measurements to outline the boundaries. The description typically starts at a designated point of beginning (POB) and then proceeds in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, using compass directions and distances. For example, “Beginning at a point 100 feet north of the southeast corner of Section 5, Township 2 North, Range 3 East…”

2. Government Rectangular Survey System

The government rectangular survey system, also known as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), is a grid-based system used to divide land into smaller sections. This method is commonly used in areas where the land is laid out in a grid pattern. Each section is further divided into quarter-sections, and so on, creating a hierarchical structure. Legal descriptions using this system typically reference the section, township, and range. For example, “NW 1/4 of SW 1/4 of Section 10, Township 3 North, Range 2 West…”

3. Plat Maps

Plat maps, also referred to as lot and block descriptions, are commonly used in urban areas and subdivisions. These descriptions rely on recorded plats that outline individual lots within a larger parcel of land. The plat map provides a visual representation of the property boundaries, often including streets, easements, and other features. Legal descriptions using plat maps reference the lot number and block number as defined in the recorded plat. For example, “Lot 5, Block 2, Smith’s Addition to the City of Boise…”

When it comes to legal descriptions, precision and accuracy are of utmost importance. Any errors or inconsistencies can lead to confusion and potential legal disputes. It is essential for buyers and sellers to consult with experienced real estate professionals, such as surveyors or attorneys, to ensure the legal description accurately reflects the property being bought or sold.

In conclusion, understanding the three main types of legal descriptions used in Idaho real estate – metes and bounds, government rectangular survey system, and plat maps – is crucial for both buyers and sellers. Each method offers unique advantages depending on the nature and location of the property. By working with knowledgeable professionals and ensuring accurate legal descriptions, buyers and sellers can navigate the Idaho real estate market with confidence.

Here is an example of the Government Rectangular Survey system in action:

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