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Professional Surveyors and Real Property Descriptions: Composition, Construction, and Comprehension

Hardcover

$120.00

Professional Surveyors and Real Property Descriptions: Composition, Construction, and Comprehension

Stephen V. Estopinal, Wendy Lathrop

ISBN: 978-0-470-54259-0 September 2011 288 Pages

Description

The only modern guide to interpreting and writing real property descriptions for surveyors

Technical land information is no longer the exclusive domain of professional surveyors. The Internet now houses a multitude of resources that nontechnical professionals—such as attorneys and realtors—access and implement on a daily basis. However, these professionals are trained in aspects of law and commerce that do not provide the proper education and experience to interpret and evaluate their land boundary information discoveries correctly. As a result, their analysis is often erroneous and the data misapplied—ultimately leading to confusion and costly litigation.

Professional Surveyors and Real Property Descriptions attempts to bridge the ever-widening gap between the users of land boundary information and the land surveyors who produce it. An expert team of authors integrates the historic and legal background of real property interests with fundamental concepts of the surveying profession in a manner accessible for average readers. These provide the basics for both properly comprehending older descriptions and competently constructing complete and modern real property descriptions that foster better communication. Highlights in this book include:

  • An in-depth exploration of historic descriptions and how to read them

  • Coverage of the widely accepted ALTA/ACSM Land Boundary Survey standards and associated property descriptions

  • A diverse collection of examples and practice scenarios

  • An overview of the latest issues related to the use of GPS and GIS

Written in easy-to-understand language, this practical resource assists nontechnical professionals in understanding exactly what a surveyor does and does not do, and serves as a valuable tool for obtaining the most satisfactory, accurate, and complete real property descriptions.

Foreword xi

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Property 1

1.1.1 Personal Property 1

1.1.2 Real Property 2

1.1.3 Ownership 2

1.1.4 Possession 3

1.2 Title and Interests in Real Property 4

1.2.1 The Concept of Title 4

1.2.2 Fee Simple 7

1.2.3 Limited Title 7

1.2.4 Easements 12

1.3 Transfers of Title and Interests 26

1.3.1 Written Transfers and Conveyances 27

1.3.2 Unwritten Transfers and Conveyances 30

1.3.3 Statute of Frauds 33

1.4 Deeds 35

1.4.1 Legally Sufficient 38

1.4.2 Abstract of Title 39

1.4.3 Recordation 40

2 Land Record Systems 45

2.1 Overview 45

2.2 Metes and Bounds 47

2.2.1 General History 47

2.2.2 Legally Sufficient 48

2.3 United States Public Lands System 51

2.3.1 History 51

2.3.2 Aliquot Division 53

2.4 Platted Subdivisions 56

2.4.1 History 56

2.4.2 Recorded Plats 57

2.4.3 State and Local Regulations 58

2.4.4 Federal, State, and Local Government Maps 59

2.4.5 Linear Tracts 59

2.5 Combined Record System Descriptions 67

3 Directions 71

3.1 Angles 71

3.1.1 General 72

3.1.2 Interior Angles 72

3.1.3 Exterior Angles 74

3.1.4 Deflection Angles 74

3.2 Meridians 75

3.2.1 General 75

3.2.2 True North 76

3.2.3 Astronomic North 77

3.2.4 Magnetic North 77

3.2.5 State Plane North 78

3.2.6 Assumed North 78

3.3 Bearings 79

3.3.1 North-South Reference Lines 79

3.3.2 East-West Reference Lines 81

3.3.3 Reversing Directions 82

3.3.4 Generalized Directions 82

3.4 Curved Lines 83

3.5 Azimuths 86

3.6 Compass Directions and Headings 87

4 Map Projections 91

4.1 General 91

4.2 Projectionless Maps 94

4.2.1 Government Land Office (GLO) Plats 95

4.3 Conformal Plane Projection 95

4.3.1 Tangent Plane Projection 96

4.3.2 Lambert Projection 96

4.3.3 Transverse Mercator Projection 97

4.3.4 State Plane Projection 99

4.3.5 Universal Traverse Mercator (UTM) 101

4.3.6 Global Positioning System (GPS) 101

4.3.7 Geographical Information Systems (GIS) 102

4.4 Application 103

5 Platting To Describe 107

5.1 General 107

5.2 Original Surveys 108

5.2.1 Identifying the Bounding Parcels 109

5.2.2 Monumentation 112

5.2.3 Directions 116

5.2.4 Distances 119

5.3 Retracement Surveys 121

5.3.1 Hierarchy of Calls 123

5.3.2 Identification of Lines 124

5.3.3 Area and Significant Figures 125

5.3.4 Recovery of Monumentation 128

5.3.5 Perpetuation of Monumentation 129

5.4 Preserving the Evidence in Words: A Case Study 130

5.5 Reference to Plats in Descriptions 135

6 Composing, Comprehending Descriptions 141

6.1 General 141

6.2 Hierarchy of Calls 142

6.2.1 Elements of the Boundaries 144

6.3 Caption 152

6.3.1 Land Record System 153

6.3.2 Clarify Intent 154

6.4 Body 156

6.4.1 Point of Commencement 156

6.4.2 Point of Beginning 158

6.4.3 Elements of the Boundaries 160

6.5 Elements of the Description 173

6.5.1 Qualifications (Additions, Subtractions, Reservations) 173

6.5.2 Closing and References 177

6.6 Punctuation and Language 177

6.6.1 Key Words or Phrases 179

6.6.2 Construing Ambiguous Deeds 188

6.7 Deed Discrepancies—Conflicts 202

7 Alta/Acsm Surveys 207

7.1 Land Title Insurance 207

7.1.1 Why a Survey Matters 208

7.2 ALTA/ACSM Survey Standards 209

7.3 Mandatory Requirements for ALTA Surveys 210

7.4 Accuracy Standards 212

7.5 Informational Options 215

7.6 The Description for an ALTA/ACSM Survey 215

7.7 The Surveyor Is in Charge 216

8 Situational Awareness 219

8.1 Deed Discrepancies—Conflicts 219

8.2 Professional Responsibilities 220

8.2.1 Understanding Historical Context 220

8.2.2 Clarity and Completeness: Extrinsic Evidence 224

8.2.3 Clarity and Completeness: Consider the Future 227

8.2.4 Clarity and Completeness: Addressing Three Dimensions 228

8.3 Regional Lexicon and Local Practice 233

8.3.1 Limitations on Local Practice 238

8.3.2 Marketable and Registered Title 238

8.3.3 The Effect of Legislation and Courts 241

8.4 Introducing Uniform Language 244

8.4.1 “Commencing” versus “Beginning” 246

8.4.2 Word Choices, Grammar, and Punctuation 248

8.5 Breaking Old Habits 248

8.5.1 Repeating Old Descriptions Verbatim 249

8.5.2 Destroying Evidence 250

8.5.3 Jargon, Colloquialisms, and Abbreviations 251

8.5.4 Sentence Construction and Punctuation 253

8.5.5 Copying a Writing Style 254

Afterword 255

Table of Cases 257

Index 259