What is a Legal Description of Property?

Updated July 26, 2023
10 min read
What is a Legal Description of Property?


Any individual who has undertaken the transfer of real estate ownership to another party would have dealt with a legal description of property. This is integral to the process, requiring the preparation of deeds and multiple land documents for the sale to be fully realized. 

In this article, we delve into the concept of a real estate legal description, exploring its requirement, functions, and the three main types of legal descriptions you might encounter in the process.


As is evinced, the legal description of property far surpasses a mere property address in its detail and complexity. Enabling stakeholders to precisely understand their legal ownership prevents potential disputes over property boundaries. The appropriateness of the method used hinges on the kind of land in question, hence the importance of an expert legal professional well-versed in these techniques of defining a property. To further assist you, Lawrina provides a comprehensive Real Estate Purchase And Sale Agreement template, streamlining your property transactions. 

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Article by
Inna Chumachenko

Inna Chumachenko is the Content Lead at Lawrina. She is responsible for managing all the content found on the blog, guides, and other website pages. Inna has a degree in philology and a vast interest in law. In her role at Lawrina, Inna oversees the content team, establishes collaborations with writers, and curates content from various contributors.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the content for Lawrina, please feel free to contact Inna directly via email at i.chumachenko@lawrina.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a legal description of property?

A legal description of property is a detailed explanation of a piece of real estate. It's a unique identifier that serves to communicate the specifics of the property on sale in order to avoid any disputes. This description varies depending on the type of property and its geographical location but is always drafted by legal professionals. 

For instance, "Lot 22, Block 7, of North Lakes Subdivision #3, according to map or plot thereof recorded in Plat Book 54, Page 8, of the Public Records of Miami-Dade County, Florida.” For further assistance in creating your legal documents, Lawrina provides a myriad of templates that may be helpful. 

Why and when is a legal description of property necessary?

A legal description of property is required primarily when the ownership of real estate is being transferred from one person to another or when a property is being mortgaged. It ensures all parties involved understand the boundaries of the real estate being sold and allows for the legal transfer of the correct property to the new owner. Additionally, this description may be necessary during disputes involving property boundaries.  

How do I choose between the three types of legal description of property?

The choice of legal description is largely dependent on the location of the property in question and the type or shape of the land. Metes and bounds is typically used for rural areas or large tracts of lands. Government surveys are used in the western United States and use baseline and meridian lines to divide the land into square areas. The Lots and Blocks method is generally used for subdivided lands and references block and lot numbers along with the subdivision name, county, and state. It is advised to consult real estate lawyers near you to choose the appropriate method.