Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Legal Descriptions

John Howe

Legal Descriptions

One of the essentials of a valid deed is an adequate description of the land being conveyed, the real estate involved must be identifiable by the wording in the deed, or its “Legal Description”. There are three basic methods of describing real estate: 1) Metes and Bounds 2) Rectangular Survey, and 3) Platted Subdivision.

A “Metes and Bounds” description makes use of the boundaries and measurements of the land in question. This method starts at a designated place known as the “Point of Beginning” (P.O.B.) and follows the property around the boundaries of the tract by referencing linear measurements and directions is to end at the original point of beginning. This method is seldom used in the transfer of residential properties in this area, however in commercial and or farm land it is the common manner of description. It is suggested in those cases that an ALTA Certified survey be acquired in those to be sure that all of the property is noted and to confirm the location of any easements or overlaps.

 The “Rectangular Survey” system was established by Congress in 1785. The purpose was to develop a standard system of describing all of the lands being conveyed to, or acquired by, the Federal Government. This system is formed around two sets of intersecting lines, Principal Meridian (P.M.) and Base Lines.  The P.M. lines run north and south and the base lines east and west and are exactly located by reference to longitude and latitude. From there it breaks down to Sections, townships, and ranges.

In the “Platted Subdivision” method the full tract of land, as defined by one of the above methods, is divided into blocks and lots. Streets or access roads for public use are designated; the blocks and lots are then assigned specific numbers for identification. The “Plat of Subdivision” is drawn by a licensed surveyor or engineer and that plat is recorded in the Recorders Office of the County where the property is located.

Now when you see a legal description that reads something like “Lot 17 in Happy Acres, a subdivision in the NW ¼ of Section 9, Township 2 North, Range 8 East of the third PM in Joe’s County, South Dakota” you will have an idea as to how it got to that point.

Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:  

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Bethany Bond
Marketing Director

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
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President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

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