How To Read A Plat

Whether you are a business owner looking for a new place to build or a homeowner evaluating your property lines, understanding how to read a plat can be helpful. You will be able to identify the bounds of what you own as well as many of the features on your land. As professional surveyors, our team at Terra Services wanted to give you a quick guide to understanding your plat.

What is a Land Survey Plat?

Your plat designates important characteristics of your land and the relative position of each aspect, including marking easements, improvements, utilities, and property lines.

Why are Plats Important?

Land plats are important for understanding your land and its potential uses. They can be required for obtaining building permits. Also, they can be helpful for legal purposes, especially if there is a property line dispute.

Tools: A magnifying glass, a scale, your land survey plat, your title insurance policy, and a copy of your land transfer document

Step 1: Review your Documents—Your insurance policy and land transfer document can provide useful information for helping you understand your land and the land surrounding your property. These documents should outline important legal limitations or if there is a third party involved with your land.

Step 2: Locate the Survey Legend—Think of the legend as the introduction and table of contents for your plat. Each surveyor could use slightly different symbols and designations. The legend will show you what to look for and help you read the plat. Each symbol used in the plat should be found in the legend under the table of symbols.

Step 3: Find the Ratio and Use your Scale—On your plat, you should find the ratio designating the length on the plat in relation to the actual distance. The scale can help you understand and visualize the parameters of your property.

Step 4: Identify your Survey Type—The type of survey should be listed in the title on your plat. Each type of survey is required to provide different information. A survey plat can be divided by subdivision lots or metes and bounds. Subdivision lots can be pretty straightforward to read because they will have designated lot numbers. When looking at metes and bounds, you will have to find the beginning point from the legal description of your documents, such as the transfer document or title insurance policy. The documents may refer to the beginning point and end point synonymously.

Step 5: Find the Features—You should make note of easements, utilities, and any other details which may affect your property rights. Also, identify any improvements which have been made to your property or the adjacent properties. Pay attention to the distance between the improvements and boundaries or easements. Evaluate the natural conditions, such as water, vegetation, or minerals listed. The natural details of your property are important because they can limit your options for building or improving your land.

If you need a land survey or support with your plat, give us a call at Terra Services. We can help you gain a clear understanding of your property.