All surveys begin with deeds. Deeds are legally recorded documents that convey title. As a matter of course, we pull your current recorded deed from your county’s courthouse along with your neighbors’ deeds. We analyze them and plot the legal descriptions from these deeds according to the bearing and distances (courses) and corner descriptions. These deed plots go together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Our first indication that there may be an issue with the deed may become apparent at this time. A deed’s legal description starts at a fixed point. The courses around your property should return to that same point. If not, there may be missing courses or errors in these courses.
Other deed errors include incomplete descriptions or descriptions that include more property than was meant to be conveyed. At some point, your property was part of a larger property, and that larger property was part of an even larger one, and so on. If you think about it, every piece of property in Pennsylvania was once a part of the grant to William Penn.
Very often, we come across a legal description for a 1-acre property that reads something like: All that certain 500 acres that John Brown sold to Steve Smith in 1796, excepting thereout and therefrom the 200 acres Steve Smith gave to his son Jacob Smith in April 1823; the 15 acres Steve Smith bequeathed to the Methodist Church in 1832; etc. This would be a case for when preparing an accurate legal description for the current property would be warranted.
We verify the deeds by performing our survey in the field. The information we find helps put together the puzzle more completely. After the field survey, we can make a determination of the true location of your property. Along with the field survey, we may do a more extensive deed history search to determine where the deed problem may have started.
When do I need to correct my deed?
All deed errors are not the same. If during our survey, we quickly determine the error and can perform our survey with little effort, we may assume another surveyor would be able to do the same. This may be a case of a correction not being necessary. Other errors that include more work may be a good reason to have your deed corrected.
The way you go about a deed correction is to first have a licensed professional land surveyor prepare an accurate legal description of your property based on a boundary survey that they performed. You can then bring this legal description to an attorney who can help you file the necessary paperwork with the recorder of deeds in your county. Otherwise, if you wish to save some money, you may contact your county’s recorder of deeds office directly.
Real estate property is one of, if not the most important thing we own. An accurate description of it, along with a proper boundary survey, is extremely valuable when it comes time to sell your home in the future. Howell Surveying is here to help you with any questions you may have.